Switched-on Gutenberg Issue 16
Simon Rodia Builds the East Tower of Nuestro Pueblo    
to Honor His Brother Killed in a Mine Explosion
1922: Watts, California

At night, he dreams the props buckle again;
mules keen, the earth murmurs, gives, and enfolds,
crushes his brother like an olive pit,
and he must dig free, limp out from the mouth
of the mine, find light, blow ash from his hands,
move west, apprentice for a cementer
in the city, listen to jazz, guzzle wine,
make love to a dozen senoritas, shed
each like a sweater that scratches too much.
A boy with grit-impressed skin, enflamed eyes,
dust in his breath. He buys a weedy pie-slice
of land near the train tracks, where he constructs
a marker from bent rebar, chicken wire,
and mortar that he adorns with conch shells,
a boot, buttons, pebbles, corncobs, glass shards.
In dreams, his marker becomes a tower,
a lithe finger that spires into the sky.

In Place
Copyright 2010, Tray Drumhann

Copyright 2010,  William Kelley Woolfitt

William Kelley Woolfitt teaches writing at Penn State and works as a backpacking guide at a summer camp in New Hampshire. He's hiked a thousand miles of the Appalachian Trail. His poems and short stories have been published or are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, Shenandoah, Poetry International, North Dakota Quarterly and Nimrod, among others.

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