The Girl in the Well

When she grew up
she could not be in cramped places,
like her mother’s walk-in closet,
or the space between her aunt’s house
and the garage.
Sometimes, in a theater,
in that moment of darkness
before the movie flickered on,
she’d feel her throat tighten,
and sweat begin on her forehead,
and she’d think back to the time
when she didn’t know how long
the lights would be out.

Then there were times when
she went back,
felt the chill of the dirt beneath her,
heard the digging which seemed
to come from all around.
She remembered how she cried,
though her parents could not come to her.
That was when she learned
there is no Superman.

When she grew up she was popular,
top of her class and
everyone’s best friend.
She seemed to know where
the best parties were held,
and where the most people would be.
In church, hers was
the sweetest voice in the choir.
But as she listened
to the preacher, who spoke
of heaven and
the rewards that awaited all
true Christians, she would laugh,
for there was nothing he
could tell her.

She already knew how it felt
to be in the ground, then
lifted up.

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