What A Culvert Is

There is a stream beneath the world that doesn’t mince its words. It trickles through a shadow, through a cavern and a forgotten void, and its path is honest. The water is usually yellow, mostly brown and never clear. It carries isobutene and polychromatic isotopes. The water often smells of gasoline. To crawl down here is to threaten your life with dysentery, polio, HIV. You risk insanity. Here is where flows the run-off of progress, the forgotten waste of culture and the trash you bury deep inside your head.

Some streams need to be allowed to flow, or the backed-up sewage swamps the streets, ruins your good suit, makes your Lexus an insurance claim. If some streams are not securely directed, they rise up, they submerge the cities and the systems and the freeways and the offices.

This is why we have culverts.