by Rachael Button

Weagamow First Nation,
Northern Ontario

“Residents of a remote northern Ontario First Nation are in crisis mode after the community’s drinking water was contaminated because of broken pipes, forcing officials to shut down the school and fly in bottled water.” –Martha Troian, CBC News

Fact:  There are 139 First Nations under boil-water advisories

It began with taps
bleeding sediment:

a severed pipe,
a broken pump:

800 boxes of bottled water,
brought by plane.

It began when washing
made children bleed

cheeks blooming rashes:
skin laced by sores,

and words like “e coli”,
dropped by nurses
set up in stations where no water runs.

It takes 14 days,
till this state becomes an emergency.

So the Weagamow wash faces
with baby wipes,

collect hours
like empty bottles,

repeat their story,
and wait for water.