Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Poetry Month: Water Pollution

 Petie Macaroni

Giampetro Maroni, aka Petie Macaroni
put his plate in the sink and walked out of the kitchen
His mother shouted from the living room
"Put'a you plate in'a dishwash
Like I toll you tousand time

Maroni took the plate
smeared with pasta sauce
from the sink and put it in the dishwasher
Then he went to the hall closet
reached up to the shelf
and took down his Glock 17
with its customized grip

He checked to see that it was loaded
and then slipped it into the waistband at the back of his pants
He took a black leather jacket from a hanger
and shrugged his considerable bulk into it
He patted his front pocket for his keys
his back pocket for his wallet
and walked out the front door
His mother shouted
"Doan slam'a da door!"

Weeks later
after Petie hadn't been heard from
Mama Maroni would wonder if she'd driven her oldest son away
with all of her haranguing

That wasn't the case
Petie would've come back home
had he been able to swim up from forty feet under the Passaic River
with two concrete blocks tied to his ankles
and having inhaled a toxic soup of muddy water
mixed with
and cancer-causing
Maxus, Tierra Solutions, owned by the Diamond Alkali plant in Newark, NJ, dumped cancer-causing dioxin in the Passaic a half century ago while manufacturing the infamous Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange.

Documentation indicates that the Argentine Company YPF SA hatched a scheme to siphon assets away from its subsidiary, Maxus, so it could declare bankruptcy and avoid paying out possibly hundreds of millions of dollars toward cleaning up the Passaic, which is so polluted that the lower portion of the river is a Superfund site.

According to the EPA’s latest National Rivers and Streams Assessment, 46% of our Nation’s rivers and streams are in poor biological condition, with only 28% in good condition. Human health screening values for mercury in fish tissue are exceeded in 13,144 miles of U.S. river length. In 23% of river and stream length, samples exceed an enterococci threshold level for protecting human health. Waters with high levels of bacteria may be unsafe for swimming and other types of contact recreation, let alone drinking.

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