after Leo Friedlander’s sculptures on Arlington Memorial Bridge,
“The Arts of War,” “Sacrifice,” and “Valor” (1951)

The breasts of a goddess are coned, capped, coppered,
her pects like fuselages, Vesuviuses stoppered—
or Grand Tetons, their river rocks washed
with a thousand babbles, a wash of tears.
There’s no mistaking her for a god.

And we’ve seen that goddess: her stony breasts flashed
to passing traffic, balance-scales or spears
in hand. We’ve stood before her, awed

and disconnected, or rather we’ve burned
to connect to what’s contained, cupped, bucketed:
the breasts a thousand mouths have suckled at

and sucked to stone. Milk … from a stone:
that is the miracle of a thousand loaves turned
into a goddess’s self, pervasive and alone.

in Beltway Poetry Quarterly


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