Pia Seagrave

Samaria: Woman at the Well


My earthenware jugs are cracked.

The well’s run dry and dust bites my tongue.

Thirsty? There is no chance for water.

But then Jesus drives up in his SUV,

wearing Birkenstocks and a five-day beard.

His hands are lined and brown.

Curls of wood shavings fall from his shoulders.

Jesus glances into the well, spits softly.

“What the hell,” he says. “Dry as a bone.”

I nod, then scan the sky for miracles.

Jesus shuffles his feet, reties his bandanna,

hitches his overalls and looks me over.

“What’s your name?” he asks.


Jesus loves poetry and babies,

BBQ, corn on the cob and cold beer.

He is a can-do man on a mission.

Jesus talks philosophy, sings

like James Taylor, repairs small

engines. He eats whatever I cook,

stays mostly sober.

Jesus whittled a dowsing rod, walked

the land in a checkerboard pattern

holding out for water, waiting on a storm.


Jesus died when lightning hit the shed.

He’d been welding a seam, the torch bright

with blue heat. We buried him

on the hillside, like he wanted.

When the creek began to rise, the mudslide

carried his coffin clear to town.

Fish multiply in the pond now.

Water fills the well, but it seeps

through my pottery

as I climb the hill home.