Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Call to Arms

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Call to Arms

Article excerpt

Don't make the mistake of calling her

angel or saint. The tremendous broad crowning

Troy's war monument grips her sword

and blows her horn for the sake of war,

not for its spoils, and so for her no poems are written.

For her, men stuff and cock their guns.

They go upstate, these men, or just away.

Those left languish here in bronze, cast

among glistening plumes of smoke at Gettysburg

or swirling dreamlessly in the iron tomb

of the foundering Monitor. Even homeboy Uncle Sam

stands frozen, soldered together in a weird

patchwork of steel. The women are another story.

A block away, the metal belly of the 22 to Albany swells

with an army of hotel domestics who have been waiting,

eternally waiting, at the Uncle Sam Bus Stop. The driver

says God bless when they board as if this

waiting were some test of faith, as if this waiting

could approximate something the living do. …

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