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  • The thing about water
  • Evelyn Flores (bio)

that bothers me                                                        is thatwe know what it is to lose—

malingu-tawe've lost our birdsour long stretches of pristine white beaches—that still go on and on in our dreams

we're battling theloss of our coralour languageour culture

                       we know what it means to lose

you'd think we would have learnedbut apparently we haven't

                       perhaps it all has to do with short memories

ha'maleffalike the young girl at a southern village meetingwho fought a return to the indigenous names for i sengsong siha"why don't we just keep what we've always had" she saidand straight shooter that he always is doc underwood said      "history did not begin with you"

so you'd think wouldn't youthat we'd be out in the streets protesting in masses                       the building of a military fire range so close to our water supply [End Page 16]

the northern guam lens aquifer supplies 80% of the island's drinking water—pacificrisa.org 2019about 5,000 marines, and 1,500 family members, from okinawa and elsewhere will begin moving to guam this decade as part of a larger realignment of U.S. military forces in the asia-pacific region—pdn 14 July 2021ni ngai'an

once contaminated,once punctured,once leaked into,      The proposed massive u.s. marine live fire training range complex in northern guahan comprises five different training ranges

                       Up to 6.7 million lead bullets will be fired over the northern guam aquifer each year—letter to the editor 28 october 2022

the purity of the aquifer will be compromised. and the getting it back? that's another question.

"ideally, prevention is the best thing"—gwa general manager miguel bordallo 21 April 2021.

chomma'      no ideally about it.prevention is

                       the only thing.                                    emissions in firing ranges result in the accumulation of elevated lead concentrations in surface soils. lead particles do not naturally biodegrade in soil as do some contaminants such as hydrocarbons. The half-life of lead in surface soil has been estimated as approximately 700 years—laidlaw et al, environmental health 2017

                 A 2012 study by the US EPA shared by local organization protect guam waters revealed a wide range of chemical agents, including lead in soils surrounding firing ranges across the U.S.

It was found that these agents tend to be mobilized by heavy rainfall, threatening groundwater supplies—letter to the editor 28 October 2022                             it's raining.

—and that's the thing about water            the third world war is at our gate, and it will be about water, if we don't do something about this crisis—rajendra singh, the "water man of india" [End Page 17] it flows out of our taps onto our skins, into our clothes, onto our babies, into our kådu soup            unstoppably, eternally, confidently.

it is this supreme assumptionthat will be the death of us.

                                              NASA recently came out with a mapped study revealing that 21 of the world's major 37 water sources are distressed, largely because of climate change or overuse from human consumption—meghan werft, globalcitizen.org 3 september 2016

kao siña un li'i'can you see            beyond that clear, constant, dependable flow                                                                             kitchen                                                                                        bathtub                                                                kiddie pool                                                            garden

the beginning of the end                              we have it in our hands to stop it.                                                            will we                                                                                          ?

That's the thing about water           that really bothers me. [End Page 18]

Evelyn Flores

Evelyn Flores is a CHamoru writer and Professor of Pacific Island Literatures and CHamoru Studies at the University of Guam. She is a coeditor of Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia (University of Hawai'i Press, 2019) and an executive editor for the developing Na'huyong: An Anthology of CHamoru Literature to be published by the University of Guam Press. The rising sea levels, the danger to water supplies, and the intensifying military activity in the region compel her to warn against the long-term environmental dangers the military buildup poses for all parts of the Marianas ecosystem. "The past has taught us," she says. "This makes us accountable."

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