- Waters Risingby Clockwise
This work has reached the exceptional level
A view from Michigan, May, two-thousand twenty
Waters Rising by Clockwise
Rhyming Poetry Contest contest entry
Artwork by cleo85 at

Red flags were raised
among the lies;
our Father's voice
amid the cries,
which urged you all
to keep and bear
your right to speak
and fight for air--
advice so free
it sounded cheap,
when it was only

The dam was old
before the rain,
and you'd grown soft
from lack of strain.
My tangled plot
for your demise,
was nothing more
than lullabies
to keep you high
and half asleep
while waters rose
just past knee deep.

You waived white flags
without a fight.
I said, "Stay in."
You said, "Alright,"
then made the most
of your mistake
till you were drained,
like Wixom lake.
Right through your clothes
my coldness seeped,
as waters rose
belt buckle deep.

Your 'open' minds
will choke dissent;
you'll pay no heed
to money spent;
you'll wear my mask
to please the boss,
then nail the church,
to it's own cross.
Behold my wolves
who would be sheep!
As waters rise
to shoulder deep.

That lifeline thrown
just out of reach;
the best lesson
I'll ever teach--
I'll take it all
and call it fair
to sell you your
own breath of air.
It'll cost a ton
but seem so cheap
while turning blue
in waters deep.


Author Notes
As late winter turned to spring, the nation readied itself for the fallout of a global pandemic the likes of which had not been seen in over a century.

Michigan, the northern state shaped like a mitten, was hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus. In response, the Governor ordered an emergency 'stay-at-home' order, closing schools, workplaces, and other institutions deemed 'non-essential.' As a part of that order, people were urged to stay away from each other, and to wear masks when out in public.

"Flatten the curve" was the rallying cry. The idea was to slow the spread of infection; to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. The mission was necessary, clear, and people willingly complied.

The number of new cases of infection peaked in early April, and have been declining ever since. The curve was successfully flattened and hospitals were never overwhelmed.

Despite this success, the 'stay-at-home' orders remained. Restrictions on buying things like paint and seeds for planting were put in place. Boating and traveling between residences was prohibited. Not wearing a mask was branded as 'selfish,' as was attending church, and suggesting the Governor's orders be lifted.

While all of this was going on, on the 19th of May, after days of heavy rainfall, the Edenville dam in the middle part of the state collapsed. 10,000 residents were displaced, and nearby Wixom lake was completely drained.

The lines "fight for air," "sell you your own breath of air," were written on May 25, the same day that George Floyd died after being detained by a Minneapolis police officer. Video of the incident is horrific. While I was unaware of the incident at the time of this writing, it's inclusion here is eerily apropos.


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