THE HEALING HOLE, Judson Simmons

THE HEALING HOLE
by Judson Simmons

“Found within the salt water mangrove forest that covers four miles of North Bimini is The Healing Hole, a pool 
that lies at the end of a network of underground tunnels… Natural lithium and sulfur are two of the minerals 
said to be contained in these waters, which seem to exhibit curative properties, as people express a sense of mental 
and physical rejuvenation after their visit.” – Travel Bahamas (2010)

1.

My neighbor’s boy throws
an old baseball against the brick wall
of their house—the steady thump,

the thump 
of a heartbeat—growing heavier 
in the summer heat,
              an echoed cadence.

I cover my head
with a pillow, trying to drown
out that sound…

All the while: 
                        bees hover a skyline
of perfectly manicured yards,

and a single line of ants march 
from their mound,
heading to find their one desire.

Outside, another day has begun...

But I am inside.

And I am tired. And I am
aware of the shadows coloring
the creases in the corner—

brushstrokes of darkness in full bloom.

I want to place
these seconds and minutes and hours
in a tin box,

bury them in the backyard
where they will rest—
a time capsule to never open.

2.

At midnight I find
the television still on, a steady stream
of useless information that was there hours earlier,
and still just as useless.

A documentary—
the story of an island’s creek
so mysterious even the locals shudder
in awe. 

It’s called The Healing Hole:

Where skin will glisten 
with a pureness 
that even god
		      cannot take away.

3.

I am running
out of words to describe
           each moment.

How many ways can I
explain what remains?

            What remains is:
                         ache in bones.

No. 

             What remains is:
                         skin afire.

4.

Warning.

Side effects include:

     Nausea     Dry Mouth     Dizziness     Insomnia     Sleepiness     Constipation     Increased 
     Blood Pressure     Excessive Sweating     Sexual Dysfunction     Tremor     Headache     
     Agitation     Muscle Weakness     Blurred Vision     Reduced or Increased Appetite

     or thoughts 

                      of suicide in children and adolescents

Contact your physician immediately
if you have side-effects.

5.

She said:

        Place the pill upon your tongue,
        take one sip,
                            then swallow.

	Everything will be okay…

6.

But it’s not okay.

These days grow short, each
time I wake

          is met by the haze—
blurred and muted—

          of remembering what I thought
          had gone away.

7.

Of water within 
the cavernous underground

Of saltwater mangrove
              where it resides

Of lithium 
        in the water

Of lithium 
		coursing through veins

Of a history, built
then shuttered, razed and reborn.
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