This Is a Story I Didn’t Tell

The day the drillers came
with their giant machine
that dug and dug
and beat and beat,
the sound went on
for hours that day
but fifty, sixty, ninety feet
and the well was dry.

And I didn’t say
my husband was out—
out of our house,
our woods, our town,
out of touch and on his own
the way he would be
on other days
as the men carried on
and the well was dry.

And all I did
was to sit at the window
or stand on the porch,
bring glasses of lemonade
out to the men,
tell my two-year-old son
why the pounding went on
day after day,
the beat beat beat
we couldn’t escape
and the well was dry.

More days and more feet
with the well still dry
when the drillers left
and my husband came back
and the years went on
and our son grew up
and the woods grew tall
and my husband left
again and again
my husband left
but the pounding stayed
and I moved away
but the pounding came
in my chest and my mind
and the well, the well,
the well stayed dry.





hollanderphotoAndrea Hollander served as the writer-in-residence at Lyon College for twenty-two years. Her fifth full-length poetry collection is forthcoming in September 2018 from Autumn House Press. Her first collection won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize; her fourth was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Among her many other honors are two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts.