Lime

By Yusef Komunyakaa b. 1947 Yusef Komunyakaa
The victorious army marches into the city,
& not far behind tarries a throng of women
Who slept with the enemy on the edge
Of battlements. The stunned morning

Opens into a dust cloud of hooves
& drums. Some new priests cradle
Stone tablets, & others are poised
With raised mallets in a forest of defeated

Statuary. Of course, behind them
Linger the turncoats & pious
Merchants of lime. What’s Greek
Is forged into Roman; what’s Roman

Is hammered into a ceremony of birds
Headed east. Whatever is marble
Burns in the lime kilns because
Someone dreams of a domed bathhouse.

Yusef Komunyakaa, “Lime” from Talking Dirty to the Gods. Copyright © 2000 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC,
www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Source: Talking Dirty to the Gods (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2000)

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Poet Yusef Komunyakaa b. 1947

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Heroes & Patriotism, War & Conflict