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.