for the residents of Flint
after Martín Espada
I see the Legionella bacteria cooking in the warm river, the corrosion eating away at old pipes, the filthy brown water spewing out of faucets. I see black babies suffering from rashes, hair loss, & seizures. I see the spike in the number of adults with muscle aches & lung failure. I see Justice in the form of Dr. Attisha; through her horn-rimmed glasses, I see the blood lead levels doubling inside of toddlers. I see Michigan officials refusing to treat her claim as a national emergency, but there’s passion sticking like phosphates to metal & building up scale.
I see black mothers lifting the handles of government-issued filters: the lead in the tap water, still exceeding one hundred parts per million. When the Chief Medical Exec says it’s still safe to bathe and shower in city water because lead can’t be absorbed through skin, it’s easy to see the supply of trust shift from the Flint River to Lake Huron as it’s easy to see Snyder reincarnated as an American Robin with broken wings.