Old wells

Remember the old well-sweep behind the shed?

The two beams, one upright, the other arching out,

how we swung on them, laughing, that great pivot

sending the bucket down, down, until it tipped

and came up bubbling, foaming, brimming full?

Isaac dug out the wells that Abraham made.

Jacob cored a hundred feet of rock for his well,

each father sweating with iron bar and spade

until ancient blades plunged into clear water.

Today I cleared sumac, brambles, sapling pine,

toed and heeled at dirt covering the rough stone

father used to cap the well of his father

the day the town connected us to the main line.

Hard as I tried, I could not move that weight alone.

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