Shocking the Well

by Diane K. Martin


February. You ask if I am settling in.
Look: A shaft of sunlight. Woman
in a Green Robe Reading a Well Report
Think Vermeer:

Bib at well head contaminated with coliform
greater than 6. CDHS recommends
level of 1. Arsenic, nitrate: not detected.
Water is moderately hard.

We brush our teeth with bottled water.
We shock the well with chlorine.
After a day we turn on all faucets
and for hours flush the tap.

In the old house in the city, we could see
past the Farallones, all the way to China—
so we said, the vaulted ceiling extending
to an infinite blur of sea and sky.

Now a pink plum blooms six feet
from our front door. At night the tree
exhales trillions of stars, ones the ancients
named, connecting the dots to their lives.

DIANE K. MARTIN’S poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Field, Harvard Review, New England Review, Zyzzyva, and many other journals and anthologies. Her work was included in Best New Poets and received a Pushcart Special Mention. Her first collection, Conjugated Visits, a National Poetry Series finalist, was published in 2010 by Dream Horse Press. She lives in western Sonoma County with her photographer husband and her dog.