“The Boy in the Well” by Jayne Marek

Jayne Marek


Now the dead boy signifies there is no
grammar of hope anymore, the map’s split
open one hundred feet deep to where the slow
dark film unreeled for the child. Heavy,
the rescuers dug down to their own great
alienation—so deep, they knew they were
ships sinking, shifting in gravel that whispered
like lessening breaths, to learn at the end
that, no, never again would the father
hold up a kite to show the boy whose eyes
loved Moroccan sky, blue as his own veins.
Now the sun fire eats the village of grief.
Now the mother wants only to retrace
her steps to the morning four days past,
the father cannot bear to look at his land,
his heritage that swallowed the boy. The
parents are breaking, the cows and donkeys
agog, even the curious slinking jackals
sense the void that answers the parents
who call and call, without words, his name.

from Poets Respond
February 13, 2022


Jayne Marek: “Like millions of people worldwide, I was captured by the saga of the attempted rescue of a seven-year-old from an earthen well in Morocco, and sensed the community’s intense hope and torment.” (web)

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