When my mother fell ill during the Flint water crisis, I drove five hundred miles from Saint Louis, my new home. My mother had been among the skeptics when in April 2014 the city switched its water source from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in an alleged effort to save money.
* fiction by Kelsey Ronan *
Behind her, Tianna laughs. “Listen to her,” she guffaws. She repeats “dark with anguishhh,” in her white girl voice, the words theatrically elongated. “Who you tryna be?” Tianna’s laughter ripples around the room. Monae turns quickly back and stares down at her desk. Her face burns. Miss McCorkle ineffectively repeats, “Students, students,” but all the eighth graders are so relieved to be pulled away from this impossible poem and given something familiar to ridicule that they laugh and laugh.