AFTER THE QUARREL
Amusing to lower the bucket into the well,
especially since I saw nothing but blackness there.
Amusing, too, the sound of it hitting the water,
a simultaneous slackening of the rope
and a jagged flicker of light
glancing back through the dark.
After that the bucket sank slowly
until my hand closed on the rope’s double knot.
I hadn’t foreseen that the bucket
wouldn’t reach to the bottom. Galling —
as though a straight question had been shirked,
or worse, was deemed too trivial to entertain.
My maternal grandfather was a farmer and I remember, as a boy, being fascinated by a well on his land. The poem, written recently, was at a time I was smouldering about a disagreement with someone. Only as I wrote the last two lines did it become fully clear to me why I was writing about the well.