Fate of Statues

by Joanne Lowery


In the tradition of dictators

I passed by you in my mind’s central square

back and forth a hundred times each day.

Then your power shrank and the Italians

felled an effigy of Mussolini in 1945,

the Hungarians decapitated Stalin and toppled

him to the ground in 1956

though his boots stuck to the podium.

When Iraq became enamored with democracy,

a 39-foot-tall Saddam Hussein lay horizontal.

More recently the Georgians removed

a giant Stalin from his hometown Gori.

Then everyone went back to their homes

with lighter hearts, toasted the end of towers.

I spun silk and cobweb around what

had finally become life-sized: bronze you.

No crowd, only my loving arms pulling

you to lie on cobblestones.

I watch you start to oxidize,

I enjoy feeling you corrode

while looters carry off the last of your fame.