I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. Now I'm completing work on a chapbook that will appear early next year.
Author's Note: Every time it rains more than a day or two, the water collects atop the drain near the garage and is liable to sit for days. No matter what this unskilled, but well-equipped, handyman tries, sometimes there's nothing to be done. Isn't that the way is, more times than we'd care to admit?
A Dry Well
After all this rain, the water’s settled in
at the bowed-end of the lot
where it always seems to find a home.
Tool belt cinched, flashlight in hand,
I wade in to clear the muck,
struggle to pry the cap
which hasn’t been dislodged for years,
while the water provides
a cold reminder against my boots
of one more thing I can’t manage to do.
I take the auger to the drain,
let the cable pay out
and nothing moves except the neighbor—
an old guy with bad ticker,
I was sure would give out this winter,
who’s emerged from his wet grave to watch me fail again.
Finally, he hollers, It don’t lead nowhere,
as if I should have known all along
what he’s taken his sweet time to say.
So this time there’s nothing to be done,—
no artery to peer into with a light,
no catheter to push through,
no stent to be set,
no valve to replace,
no ventricle to stir,
no auricle to put your ear to and hear.
Just wait till the rain lets up
and the water finds a place below,
in the heart of things we can never see,
but where we’ll spend our time
calling to those above
all the ways they’ve managed to fail.
It’s a dry well, he shouts to me.
Not that it matters what our failures are called.
-originally appeared in Beneficial Exercises for Heart Disturbances, Scrimshander Books # 2, published by Osedax Press, 2015.
©2015 Alan Walowitz