By Andy Phillips
There are watermarks on some of the homes
throughout the neighborhood left behind by the storm.
Some have been painted over or showered off,
yet still some remain.
Serving not as a stain of struggle,
but as a symbol of resilience.
They tried to wash us away,
and they did.
They washed my baby cousin away.
They washed my neighbor’s mom away.
He had to stare into her eyes as her hand slipped away,
with the rushing of the tide pulling them further away, from each other.
And in those muddy waters,
it became abundantly clear
that this overflowing cup
was not the blessing that we’d all been prayin’ for.
Because sometimes when it rains, it pours.
And when it pours, sometimes they just might bust holes in your walls
and usher the waves to rush right in.
But that didn’t stop us.
We keep climbin’.
Because like my mama always said, “When the waves get rough,
turn your gaze to the Heavens.”
So we looked up and became survivors,
kicked through ceilings to become roof riders,
undrafted soldiers baptized by unwanted waters.
We are forever marked.
'Watermark' is the true story of the struggle to survive that took place in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans during the traumatic days of Hurricane Katrina. Andy Phillips is a screenwriter, actor, director, and poet currently based in sunny Los Angeles after many long New York City winters. His first short film, Words, screened at festivals worldwide including Festival De Cannes Court Métrage, London's InShort Film Festival, and NewFilmmakers New York. He is a graduate of The Actors Studio MFA.