Rebecca Brown :: Well

Sometimes it’s more like being in a hole.
Not natural, built: a well.

By whom.

I don’t remember getting here I just remember here.
It’s sort of like a well in a Japanese horror movie except  I’m not Japanese.  There’s a girl at the bottom who looks exotic.  I don’t mean exotic like Asian women get called, they get e-goddamn-nough of that, I mean exotic like long white dress and pale skin and long black flowing, that’s always the word (I don’t have flowing) hair.  But this girl’s is clumpy.  There’s still a little water at the bottom though not enough to drown.  But really there’s always enough to drown.  You can drown yourself in a teacup if you have the balls.  You put your face in so your nose is covered and stay until you aren’t breathing but I have neither balls nor am exotic.  Nor am I memorable though I remember stuff, oh, Jesus, I remember.  But also I can not remember many other things.

I can’t remember when I am here a single other place or way or time.  When I am here I am here for forever no way out.  Well, one.  But I have neither balls nor am allowed.

When I am somewhere else, which thank God is a lot of time, I tell myself inside my brain as if to print it there like a potato print you make in Brownies.  You get a large baking potato with firm flesh and cut it in half longwise then cut into the exposed flesh a design then press the cut potato face to an ink pad then stamp the inked potato face to paper and get a print.  Remember this, remember this, I tell myself, you must remember this.  If I could grit my teeth inside my brain.  If  I could lock it with a lock and throw away the key.  But neither am to waste.  The potato print is a reverse image though.  Shoulda thought of that.
I must remember this.  A … kiss is just a…. something …   I sigh for something…uh….? …. time gone by?  the something something yadda ya…  I can remember some but others can’t.

I’m soggy, wilted, glue-y skinned like something under a band-aid too long you could scrape off with a fingernail or eyeless fish.
The water is stagnant.  A slimy film of something on the top.  I’m standing in something squishy I’d rather not think about.  I’d rather not think of a lot a lot of times.

I am at a bottom of a well and look up to a hole.  My neck is bent.  A nicer word would opening I guess.  If you think nice things that is supposed to help.  I look up often longingly.  I look up and the skin of my throat could be said to resemble a fish.
It looks like something empty full of light.  Except: that which is empty does not contain.  By definition.
A shape that something could come through?

Or maybe I look and look so long I can no longer see.  Or can’t see what I’m seeing or I can no longer tell.  Maybe it’s only dark but there are dots and flashes inside my eyes.  Light comes in through a pink-orange veiny skin.  I try to close them when I must.
I say a not the bottom for I have learned there are more things in someplace and earth than are dreamt of much less thunk of, i.e., no single one is ever the only one.

The hole is where the stuff is put to be sent down to me.  A bucket attached to a rope to bring and then take up.  What do I send?  What have I here to send?  Besides my want.  It used to bring water until it was no longer a working well, that is no longer able to do what it was meant, i.e., provide – I’m speculating here – for bathing, drinking, crops, etc., the water table having been sucked away by overuse and slow evaporation over years, by too much want.

Someone sometime was kind enough to have provided wireless (old World War II radio in England kind, not internet).  I hear what I hear from the wall.

You sound so close! I say and say.
…You sound so close! I hear.
Like you’re right here!
…Like you’re right here!
To have a listener helps.
What’s up up there, I ask.  What’s going down.  When can I leave?  Will you be there?  Will you be when I leave, etc.
How long.
Is it a kindness or unkindness not to say?

+             +             +

Throw me a rope.
… Nope.
I am not being rash, I say too fast.  I need a rope to climb to you.
…Who?
Me.  Me to you.  I want to come to you.
…you do.
I want to see you.
… do.
I want to, please, believe me, please, I do I do I do…  I babble and I cannot then hear anything.
Then quiet.
Then again.
Etc.

I won’t be rash, I tell myself. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t.  But I really and truly need to get out of here.  I really do.  Please, please, I think inside or say, too tired and weak to know.  I cannot climb without a rope, I can’t do anything.
You can.

Look up and wait.
Look up and see.
I look until my body is sore.

Look up, look up and see.

It’s not the kind of rope I had imagined.  It doesn’t look strong enough to hold.  Can it?  Oh, can it carry me?  Oh, would hold me, will it hold!

It’s angling. I see.  That is, it comes down at an angle, which is odd; I can see nothing that blocking it.  What’s happening to gravity?  How come?

I’m sorry to want the way I do.  I’m sorry for everything.

I look and wait and look and want and want.

A hand swings from me like a child’s, as if a baby’s who does not yet know her hands are part of her.  I see them grab, now both of them, surprised, in want, as wanting as the sucker for a tit.  I see them want and grab and hold.  The hands cannot do all they would but try.  Is it too thin to hold her whole?  But only bit or bit?  Will want and need, will suck and try, will pullinh want and heart tear what apart?  Something is sent, something is come.  Will it, will I, though hungry, dry and unseeing hold and try?


This piece also appears in print.