2019 Spring Contest Winner: 3rd Place, Theme–Climate

Impending Water Shortage: Facts & Incantations

by Khadija Anderson

Over 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050

Money washed in clear rain water cannot be stolen


To spill water while carrying it from the spring or brook is an omen of sorrow

Global demand for water has increased six-fold over the past century


Water quality is deteriorating because of runoffs of fertilizer and other chemicals

Washing your hands in water in which eggs have been boiled, is a certain way to get warts


Drought and soil degradation are now the biggest risk of natural disaster

Throw a baby’s bath water under a green tree and the baby will thrive  


If two people wash together they will have bad luck unless one of them spits in the water

80% of all wastewater is being discharged without treatment


Climate change will make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier

A drowning person cannot drown until he has gone under the water for the third time


Droughts are the greatest threat from climate change

If it rains while a bride and groom are going to or from church, they will have a life of unhappiness


A river takes one drowned soul as its yearly toll

Wrap yourself in the skin of an animal just killed, lie down beside a waterfall,

and the future will be revealed to you


Water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration and conflict

If rain falls on a coffin, the soul of the departed has arrived safely


Judge’s comments

The third-place selection, “Impending Water Shortage: Facts & Incantations,” is an inspired scheme of couplets which surprisingly pairs alarming environmental facts with endearing folkloric superstitions. 

—Nancy Carol Moody

Poet bio

Khadija Anderson, Muslim, mother, poet, and Anarchist lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. Her poetry has been published in many online and print journals and anthologies. Her first book of poetry, History of Butoh, was published in 2012, and a chapbook, Cul-de-sac: an american childhood is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Khadija runs a monthly social justice themed literary series, Poets & Allies for Resistance, in Pasadena, California.

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