by Rebekah Denison Hewitt
Genesis 21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
I remember my desire as if it were sinew
wrapped around my neck, literal thirst and my son
unable to walk, limp on the ground. I was certain
we would die, closed my eyes and felt death’s presence,
her long black nails close enough to smell the rot
beneath them, but when I opened my eyes—a pool
between the desert rocks, my prayers answered and placed
directly on the tongue, a gratitude I could consume.
What haunts me now is that I’ve forgotten the longing
that kept me dragging blistered feet through the desert.
I must have been grateful though I can no longer feel it
sliding down my throat. God what are your calculations—
how much thirst will lead to thanks and how much
will turn a woman bitter in the bones? Here at the well
I pull up pail after pail of water, asking you to see me
and return my thirst.
Rebekah Denison Hewitt holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Martha Meier Renk Graduate Fellow. She is an assistant poetry editor for Orison Books and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, The Rumpus, and Poetry Northwest. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and works as a librarian.