Poetry: The Well and Dive


The Well

Any well turns to face the water table, hooked & earthbound.
You will say I was wrong to watch the child fall. Her face a blue marble below.
The scrim of dried yellow blossoms on its surface disturbed. Walls painted
w/ coldwater. I could feel my daughter tremble within the stone of my fingers.
I called down as she wavered, a struggling bauble. The sun behind me.
My hands outstretched, weak with rope. Shivering in her green dress,
she buckets up. Oak cooling her skin. Beads prism her hairline
& I twist the dress away from her. Small palm shapes on the stone.
She knew as I knew: No one would know. How it was not
love that propelled me, but obedience. Call love a reflex.
I cranked you up from the wet breath of earth, daughter, both fish & hook.




I plait myself within a series of brittle prayer. My hips
ahead of me. A salt fighting yeast for risen grain.
When I leapt into that wild green wave, it was for
love of you that I put my belly to the barracuda,
my shaking god & silver. I swam for my life.
I became a poem of myself & anonymous.
Washed my hair with salt & apples, scrubbed
away our blended skin with sand. There is no
apology I can offer. Just a wealth of wind.
Something I had dropped. Any shipwreck.
There was nothing to fight in me that instant I fell,
just a false treasure of body. Without promise of
shore or pleasure, a body can finally befriend itself.
A graceless fall. But what returns to me
in memory is the way you also jumped.
That although I thought I swam
alone your dark shape traced below
mine anyway, keeping for its own pleasure […]

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Emily Vizzo is a San Diego writer, editor, and educator currently serving as AME for Drunken Boat. She also volunteers with VIDA, Poetry International, and Hunger Mountain. Vizzo’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in FIELD, The Journal, The Normal School, and North American Review. She received note for an essay in Best American Essays 2013. Vizzo has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and teaches yoga at the University of San Diego.