It wasn't until her senior year that my ghost starting working with horse imagery. A lot of short, quick shots: Horse tossing it's head, the horse laying in a stall. She thought if she could inhabit the smell of a horse, how you're hands will smell of horse long after. Horse laying in snow, snow gathering on it's mane. She thought if she could feel the horse on her skin forever, she might loose the cold of the well in which she was born. An abandoned barn under mountains, red barn in a snowy field, hills rolling. Like everything else, though, she never got it right. Horse on hind legs, slathered in foamy sweat, aware that it's dying. Like everything else she touches, it turns to death. She makes art films out of death. Little girl in a white dress in a white field by a dying horse, shot from far away, she thinks it's beautiful. She lies beside it, small hands stroking over the labored breath, the waste. Forever waste and waste forever and ever.
She was in the well for a long time. In the dark, she froze, she died and became a petrified stone version of a girl. It took many years. At what point she died and became a ghost, she doesn't even remember herself. Things in the well, snails, bacteria, consumed her and she dreamt of death and death unending. Relentless death for you and for me. Poets especially she hated. Anyone who pretended ugly things were beautiful. Anyone who told stories of suffering. Yes, she'd give it to them. She filled the shaft of the well with her malice, glossing over the scratches in the stone sides made by her fingernails. Dreams of children suffering traumatic events. Broken men, alone in dreary rooms. Suicides. She colored the water with them, the stones around her accepted this patina as well. Her dreams covered everything. They kept her safe there like a blanket of cold water, dreaming as she turned to stone.
If I could, I'd put myself in the well. A grown man baby Jessica, just to be able to sympathize with her. If it would do any good. I have wrapped the cold around me and shivered against the night. I have gone down that dark road by myself again and again, she's seen me there. She's watched me in the basement as I swam through the music, as I plumbed and found my mind to be a frightening, nebulous place. What more could she want? I walk into things constantly. My hands. The chisel slips and cuts me again. Splinter-speared and shaking, my hands. I roam through the house thinking my wife is awake. She's got to be up, the lights are on, where is she? I check my son's room and she's still with him. Thirty minutes later I think I hear her again and check the whole house. I do it all night, afraid that I might find her, find this woman I have loved for so long, find the ghost of a small drowned girl, find her waiting to embrace me.
--Ghost Poems, collaborative effort via email with Jay Snodgrass inspired by the movie The Ring