I Am The Flint River / Lori Fontanes


Some time, after the glacier scraped back

deposited my topography

I came into this basin, these plains, 

draining one thousand three hundred thirty two square miles

one hundred forty two in length 


I've been assessed & channelized

made to carry logs and wagons

carts and cars

Crops played a part

their effluence in my sediment

permeating my biota


My wetlands lost, with their filtration

A watershed in run-off 

unregulated discharge

industry, municipality & farm

Point source pollution,

fingers point to me


I am the Flint River.


Formerly iotic, flowing 

Now my tributaries compromised & lentic

That is, slow & warm

from asheries grown cold

& roadways grown corrosive


Not potable, a confluence of nested

greed & power shifts

inundate my meandering course, like

my Ojibwe name

I am flinty

riffles over cobbles

a sluice

my many dams.


I am Flint, her river.

Writer/photographer/activist Lori Fontanes tells stories in various media about food, justice, technology, and the environment. She raises vegetables, ducks and a daughter in Westchester County, New York, where she is also a candidate in the MFA in Creative Writing program and adjunct professor at Manhattanville College.