Laurel Snyder
Well: the Girl Who Falls


The girl who falls
can’t swim, displaces

the water. What we call weather
is sometimes like this,

around us, and with us
inside everything. Winter.


The girl falls,
And a cold place in the ground

displaces fear, but the girl
won’t have it. She says to her fear,

“Hurry back with a rope
or some dinner. Hurry back

with your very strong arms.”
She waits. Some birds come

to see her and some birds just come
to see. She’s lucky. Now

it’s spring, so there are fireflies
and the hole doesn’t seem so deep.

Her voice, loud in the hollow,
shakes the ground, shakes

a little. How loud it sounds
inside the earth.

Then Up— Shaken Morning

The girl took the steps at breakneck speed,
“What?” and the world went with her,
steps slanted, feet fell, braced for bottom.

Then up, shaken beside an azalea.

Some light took shape, leaked onto earth,
onto sight, leaked onto trees. The house stood, ate the air
behind the steps, stretched, took all the wood and a window.

“A girl could live in a place like this.”

There was earth pushed right up to the first step, wrinkled
with blades of soft grass and a few new bits of clover.
The girl (as if to cry) leveled head to hands, but then changed

her posture. She felt the moving of what should,

and smiled. “I never was here before this, but now—”
One girl. Sturdy house in a nameable season.
Steps with banister, sorely in need of fixing.