Poets logo

Wilmington, NC

A poem about a trip I took last year.

By Suze KayPublished 4 months ago Updated 3 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - July 2023
Wilmington, NC
Photo by David Becker on Unsplash

You feel the call coming for days, across the eastern seaboard.

Pressure building to the South: texts with alarming frequency, fear

in every vowel. When it finally comes, it pulses with need and panic.

You're on the next plane.


You arrive too late to change anything, if anything could be changed.

"Do you want to talk about it?" you ask him in the car, but he doesn't.

He takes you to a bar that used to be gay. Now it's filled with boys

from the base nearby, who offer you their vapes like sacrament.


He tells you not to drink from the tap. There's something in the water.

It killed his mom, his aunts, his neighbors. It settled in their bones

and breasts and brains and drank them up. You drink from bottles

that jog your front teeth when you sip too quick.


A boy offers you his number, his hands, his time.

You demur, citing a man up north, and he says that man is lucky

before pulling your friend into the bathroom, returning mussed.

You see it now: still a gay bar, but twisted back to keep secrets.


He's too drunk to drive. He drives anyway. Over your objections,

he picks up a hitchhiker in blue shorts by the city center. Tight ass,

screw loose. In the morning you see he took a picture from the backseat

and wrote a caption about how easy it would have been to kill you.


There's something in the water. You see it in the fight at the Waffle House,

in the eyes of the sheriff, who calls him boy.

You see it at the house party of well-coiffed white women,

widows all. You see it in him.


Before you leave, you tell him to come back soon. To stop self-destructing.

You say it again a year later in Central Park, after scattering her ashes.

You can lead him to the water, and you can tell him it's clean, but

he won't believe it, not until he installs the filter himself.


This poem was inspired by a short trip I took last Spring. Wilmington is beautiful but has a lot of problems. Its people do, too. Most everyone I met seemed sick in one way or another - if not physically, then mentally or spiritually.

There really is something in the water, by the way. It's PFAs, forever chemicals that have been dumped into the area's water supply by DuPont for decades.

social commentarysad poetry

About the Creator

Suze Kay

Pastry chef by day, insomniac writer by night.

Catch me here for spooky stories, crushable poems, and overall weird thoughts.

Or, let me catch you on my website!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (9)

Sign in to comment
  • Naomi Gold4 months ago

    Congrats on your Top Story! 🥂 When I was married, my Navy husband applied for a job with special forces in North Carolina. He got it, then turned it down, and I cried my eyes out. I hated Honolulu so bad and I was tired of feeling stranded there. Turns out I dodged a bullet, because there’s been a class action lawsuit against that military base for toxic water. We had a small child too, and I don’t even know what I’d do if he would’ve gotten sick. You told such a chilling tale in so few words, and made me thank my lucky stars!

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    OMG!!! Chemicals are not good in the water!!! Well done!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!

  • Chloe Gilholy4 months ago

    There’s something in the water.

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    Wow. That's amazing. Congrats on the TS

  • Gerald Holmes4 months ago

    This is exquisite work. I could feel the angst in your voice at what you were seeing around you. So very well written. Congrats on Top Story.

  • Ashley Lima4 months ago

    This is absolutely stunning. Heartwrenchingly beautiful. Really well done, Suze. You knocked this out of the park.

  • Poppy4 months ago

    Wow, just wow. Your writing is so incredibly unique and beautiful. I can't even explain how much I enjoy every poem you write!

  • Mackenzie Davis4 months ago

    I really enjoyed this, Suze. The water plays a great part in these verses, love how you utilize it to show the sickness around you on this trip, especially to tie it up at the end; those last lines are amazing. I also love seeing all the places you mention, all the people you see. It all feels so connected, so tangibly off, and that hitchhiker part gave me the creeps. I get the sense you were creeped out a lot on this trip, lol. It’s a hard thing to write based on real life, to see the patterns that make a poem so good. This is very well done. 👏👏👏💜

  • Ariel Joseph4 months ago

    This was really moving. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, NC so this hit home quite literally.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.