The Depths

There was a water tank on the side of the house
filled with darkness.
You can’t see it yet, I know.
It was a black rectangular tank
against the white painted bricks
on the side of the house that had no windows
and it had large round rivets
and small triangles of metal
at each corner reinforcing it—
little places where you could set things.

Does it matter how it looked?
No, none of that matters.
What I want you to see
is the darkness of the water,
and know, as I did, that you could drown in there.

My sister almost drowned in a much smaller thing
face down
before I was born.

But I am born now
and barefoot
and peering over the edge of the water tank.

A bee struggles on the surface
its legs like a wind up toy
fizzing too fast
and its yellow and brown fuzz
is stuck together in clumps.

There is danger.
Too much water.
It goes down so deep
to places that will never be seen
dark secrets under the surface where the bee flails.

There is the danger of the ready sting
the swift deep pain of abandonment
of not being enough.
Don’t worry, Bee, I will save you.
I am the only one here who can.
How long would it take for you to drown?
I could walk away and find you later, drowned,
still, floating on the water with a little pollen
released onto the surface of the water
around you;
but you know I won’t.
Don’t worry, Bee, I will save you.

It is hard to take my eyes off
the mesmerizing struggle
of trying so hard and not getting anywhere at all.
I am like that bee.
I pull myself away and pick up a dry curling piece of bark.
Will the bee crawl up through the curl to tickle my fingers
with his wet feet
and follow this with a forceful fiery sting?

I am helping you, little bee.
I am trying to help you.
Your legs are exhausted.
Rest now and dry your wings in this sunny patch
while I go back to looking at the water
trying to see if I am on the surface struggling too
or if I am down at the bottom in the darkness
where I can’t even see myself.

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