Holy Site

She tells the boy itís a water tower.
Concrete gray and green, it rises forty feet
on iron legs; egg-shaped, lank and warped, the body
curves like a turned bell. The roof rusted through,
it holds water, though only four feet deep, the rest
pours from the metal shell. No one remembers
the year it was built, but itís been standing there
a long time. At night, the boy hears the concrete
fall in wet chunks, a low wind whine
through its wide cuts. And he can barely
sleep. In summer, the boy swims
in its dark water. He goes all the way under.
She never stops him, though the water infested
with bird shit and invisible worms
will tattoo itself by winter in small red Os
on the inside of his wrists. And she doesnít
repeat the whispers: itís a messiahís cup, a chalice
disguised as a tower, the water tinged brown
by something other than iron. The barbed wire
fence, the steel barriers, the danger signs
all a hoax. So that no one comes. What good
would it do? Even if pilgrims appear
with an antidote, even if a single dose could cure
the fatigue and fever, it wouldnít be enough.

Sarah Wetzel is the author of Bathsheba Transatlantic which won the 2009 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and will be published by Anhinga Press in Fall 2010. A daughter of the American South, Sarah somehow ended up in Israel after job-hopping across Europe. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 1989, and in 1997, received a MBA from Berkeley. Sarah completed a MFA from Bennington College in January 2009. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009, her work appeared or will appear in Barrow Street, Valparaiso, Quiddity, Rattle, Pedestal, Stirring, Folly, TwoReview, Shampoo, and others. Sarah currently divides time between Israel and Manhattan, where she lives with her husband and one needy dog. She blogs at (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761