Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

Sarah Wetzel

After the Flood

Five days later and finally you write
Are you safe, how high did the waters climb?

I couldn't barricade the door with enough bags
I couldn't keep the rage from rushing up

Choke back the roots and the drowned cats
I couldn't light the last match, the one lamp

I couldn't stop the crazed dark
Guard the head that always finds the door's edge

Stop the flood taking everything from some
Forgive you, who it didn't even touch

Five days when I might have been dead
And then you ask, are you safe?

I couldn't stop the rising up
I can't push the filthy waters back far enough

The Next David

I want to be in Firenze's Accademia
when The David finally
                                   falls, when he explodes
into white irreconcilable fragments,
dust to more dust
during what might be the seventh
maybe the seventeenth earthquake in Italy
in less than eight years.

It's malicious
but I want to see it. I want to be there
when the ground opens up
and Michelangelo's masterpiece leans
more than the fifteen degrees
he's allowed. When his right ankle
riddled with invisible fissures
                       gives way and gravity
takes him.

I want to be standing right next to
Michelangelo's Slaves, the one named
Awakening, his hand reaching
through rock
the rest of him still trapped
in the catacomb of marble. I want to
                       catch him
as he drops.
He'll be close to weightless.

Sarah Wetzel is the author of River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Publication Prize and was published by Red Hen Press in 2015, and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published in 2010. Sarah currently teaches creative writing at The American University of Rome while splitting time between Manhattan, Tel Aviv, and Rome. You can read more of her work at