Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina
There was no water at my grandfather's when I was a kid and would go for it with two zinc buckets. Down the path, past the cow by the foundation where the fine people's house was before they arranged to have it burned down. To the neighbor's cool well. Would come back with pails too heavy, so my mouth pulled out of shape. I see myself, but from the outside. I keep trying to feel who I was, and cannot. Hear clearly the sound the bucket made hitting the sides of the stone well going down, but never the sound of me.
From The Dance Most of All by Jack Gilbert. Copyright © 2009 by Jack Gilbert. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.