Jessyca & Pam

Text by Jessyca Mathews



Artwork by Pam Collins

art teacher, everett high school (lansing)


I'll Call Back Later


I am calling because there is
Something wrong with the water.You see,
I went to the faucet this morning
To make breakfast for my children and I noticed
A smell,
One that I have never experienced before.
One that brings me to mind
Of sewage,
A smell that is in the wrong place
Of my pipes.

It’s more of
A stench—
An odor—
A sign that this liquid has lost
Its purity and cleanliness.

I’ve noticed
When placed in a glass
There is
A color,
A tint,
A hint
That something isn’t right for consumption.
Water for my livelihood should not come out
The same color as my skin
And blend
Into the soil with no notice.

Something isn’t right.

And despite my calls earlier in the week
For me to speak
To your superior,
I can’t believe that things aren’t showing up
As improper on your reports.

I don’t believe that things are fine.

Something isn’t right.

I’ll call back later...



I’m calling to look for help for my city
People have started to talk and
Think that this water issue is more
Important than others want to give it

People around town have started to
To go insane
At the fact that there are no answers
For rashes and mishaps that are
Attacking our children.
People’s hair growing thin.
We can’t help to begin to think that we
Are being ignored.

We are looking for someone to shed
Light on the
Of the old people crying in their tissue
Of losing loved ones to disease.

If you please…
Listen to the people.

There is something wrong with the water.

We are becoming sick.

This can’t be a trick
That we would need to continue to beg
For someone to help us
Find answers
For a right granted to
All its world’s inhibitors.

Something isn’t right.

We will continue to fight
To be heard
Until we have clear answers.

I’ll call back later...

(Deep Breath Taken)


Yes!I was told that it was you!

Decisions that you decided to make.
For heaven’s sake
You could have asked anyone from my city
That this was not the solution!

We have people stuck in an abyss
Of empty water bottles that are
To work like band aids
Covering up man made wounds
Created by government officials.

My child’s skin will never be repaired.

Neither will be my loss of hair.I'll never trust anything that runs from a tap
For as long as live
Because it's not a source of survival anymore.
Water is what my household

The thoughts of still having to pay for
Poison I can't even use
Is a disgrace to me
And all those who
Are struggling to survive.

My child is crying!

My people are dying!

We keep asking,

We keep screaming

And there are no answers.

Something isn't right.

I'll call YOU back later...