The Well

My breath, where did it go

I’m falling down a well with no bottom

A well with no sides

A well that holds the whole world’s fears

I find them all as they dance and jeer and whisper in my ear

“You’re not enough

You weren’t enough

You won’t ever be enough”

Punctuate the bell’s clanging!

Mark the warning I hear it ringing out for me!

Face myself

Face it all

Face none of it

Horror is flying around me like a thousand silent crows that are angry with my flailing descent, being stirred from its resting perch

Two creatures from the deep rise up to meet me

Two creatures whose names they scream in long sickening shrieks



Their worn and flimsy garments fly up as the creatures keep pace with my plunge into the deep

Fear reveals its bony finger with a thick and jagged nail, yellowed from the marrow of its victims, from behind a scant and decaying sleeve

And Fear presses my chest with that finger and that nail,

And presses

And presses

And Fear presses and pierces my heart right through

I feel it

And I can’t stop it

And I can’t stop falling

Fear withdraws its finger and pulls out my breath and I see it leave me

Long and thin

Like a sinew or a tendon

My breath is wound around its finger and pulled out by Fear

Try harder! Come back, my breath, with my heaving effort!

Yet it is gone from my chest

From my pounding pierced heart, that is jumping like a sledgehammer being wielded by an angry giant

There is my breath

My breath

Fear slivers my breath into a dark and gaping mouth like a child slurps a noodle

While it screams its name into the darkness of the well

“Feeeaaarrr!! Feeeaaarrr!!Feeeaaarrr!!”

Terror slowly licks my face with a long and bulging tongue

Terror puts its four hands into my heart and Terror pulls

And pulls

And pulls

And pulls apart each pulsing valve

One from the other

And each hand holds a piece of my flailing heart

Terror looks over each piece and is grimly satisfied with its craftsmanship

And Terror shoves its four hands clutching my heart with violence



Down into my stomach

And my gut aches with a dull ache

Like the ache when intuition is putting down roots

And as Terror pulls out its four hands, my heart quickly floats upward

Lodging in my throat it chokes me

While Terror screams its name




And the silent, angry crows fly around me faster and faster

And the bell rings louder and louder

And my breath is no more

As I fall

In this well with no bottom

In this well with no sides

~Poem by Mona Tuiles, describing the “freeze, flight, or fight” feeling 

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