THE WARTIME ISSUE
FOR THE MONUMENT CUSTODIAN
He is cleaning the monuments down,
polishing the marble to a fine luster,
picking up tossed film packages,
chip wrappers and Coke cans
strewn around the perimeter.
This much work
so the tourists will not think
of the violence and distortion
that chisels each stone
into alabaster pillars and arches,
carves each patriotic declaration
into these monuments' luminescent facades,
but of one nation
bright with order and promise
its history starting anew each day.
Marcella Wolfe is a freelance writer and poet who divides her time between Washington, DC and her farm in Paw Paw, West Virginia. Her poetry has been published in magazines and journals including CQ, the magazine of the California State Poetry Society; Hawaii Pacific Review; and Winners: A Retrospective of the Washington Prize. She studied at the University of Maryland, Oxford University in the U.K., and as part of the Jenny McKean Moore workshops at George Washington University. She read most recently on love at the Valentine's Day reading at the Library of Congress.
Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.