Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Well

Curiosity killed the cat
and it might kill Kiki.
At least that's what you led me to believe.
I followed you to get a bucket of water
and crept ever closer to
the well house,
watched you throw the
gleaming galvanized bucket
down deep to hear
the sloshing sound
as you pulled frayed nylon rope
hand over fist.
I was right behind you
ready to peer down
into the gaping maw,
deep damp darkness,
liquid blackness,
when you turned
and startled,
dropped the bucket.
Flying water splashed my face,
soaked my sneakers through the leather.
You shouted at me to stay away,
warned me of malevolent mice,
fat black water rats
that lived inside.
My imagination went double time
creating Halloween creatures
and the ghosts of squirrels
that you trap and drown in buckets
because they eat your vegetable garden.
They are down there too,
and if I fell in I'd surely drown
or break my neck on the plummet downward.
Terrible thoughts for a young mind,
but it worked.
I ran away
and never again stood less than
20 feet from the well house.
But after that
when you went to the well
I went too,
filled my bucket with anxiety.
What if you tripped,
fell deep down into the dark?
And even now I avoid wells.
Conditioned to fear
corrugated vertical metal tubes
dug deep to extract water from the earth.
striking me
with the worst kind of vertigo.

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