The End of the Storm Drains

By: Wyatt C. Vaughn

Above, asphalt streets meet each other with divots forming storm drains.
But below, the concrete box and brown metal manhole puddles collected rain.

Above, I walked, wondering what it was like underneath where the world served us empty and dry streets.
But below, open tunnels of dark channels converging into sky-lit terminals tantalized me.

What was it like below our world?

Determined, neighborhood kids gathered with gear in each hand.

Backpack, flashlights, extra double-A batteries, and water bottles.
Goldfish crackers, iPhone 5 with 2 bars of service, and bagged popcorn.

The walnut creek warriors set off for where the black storm drain tube met dirty creek water.
One by one, each adventurer entered with wet sopping shoes past the melted metal soldering.

Light fades into an ombre grey, grey fades into black, but is fought with the crack of glow sticks.
If justice is blind, our environment had acquainted us to the supreme court.

We set each foot to the beat of our fearful hearts until daylight seeped through bars of steel secured in concrete along the hot, black summer street.

Our safe haven amidst dirty rainwater channels was littered with cigarettes and broken beer bottle’s glass, alas,
We have discovered a new home.

But when flashlights died and iPhone 5 batteries fried, we couldn’t continue on the bleak, black, tube trail.

With only traveling a mere stretch of miles-long pipes, we were left with a question:

If we went back with an iPhone 11, wifi hotspots, or post-2015 technology, what could we have found that time had robbed us of knowing?