The Wishing Well

by Drora Matlofsky

It was an old-fashioned well
Such as you sometimes still find,
With a bucket tied to a chain.

Wishing well, said the sign next to it.
One wish: ten agorot.
Three wishes: twenty agorot.
Ten wishes: eighty agorot.

Ten wishes for the price of eight!
Two wishes for free!

Come on, even the most sophisticated computer
Cannot grant my wishes.

Yes, but old magic...

There is no such thing as magic!

But even if there isn't,
I won't miss ten agorot.

I'll throw ten agorot in
If only just to prove
Wishes don't come true.

One of my coins shines gold,
The other is black and battered.
Is the well picky?
Probably not as much as the grocer.

If I put both coins in,
I'll get three wishes.

Or just one if the well is picky.

Or nothing if I'm right
And magic doesn't exist.

But then
I'll have wasted twenty agorot
To prove my point
When I could have done it
For half-price.

You are being ridiculous,
I told myself,
Polishing the shiny coin on my sleeve.

Do it quick
Before you change your mind.

I must wish.
I wish...
I wish...

Shadows enveloped the earth
And the stars winked at me, one by one
As I stood,
Wondering what to wish.

Drora Matlofsky has been living in Jerusalem since 1984. Her poetry in English has appeared in various poetry and Jewish magazines and her poetry in French can be found on the Poésie Française site.

Last updated August 05, 2015