The Arch

By Patricia Lockwood Patricia Lockwood
Of all living monuments has the fewest
facts attached to it, they slide right off
its surface, no Lincoln lap for them to sit
on and no horse to be astride. Here is what
                                                 I know for sure:

Was a gift from one city to another. A city
cannot travel to another city, a city cannot visit
any city but itself, and in its sadness it gives
        away a great door in the air. Well
        a city cannot except for Paris, who puts
on a hat styled with pigeon wings and walks
through the streets of another city and will not
even see the sights, too full she is of the sights
already. And within her walk her women,
        and the women of Paris looking like
        they just walked through an Arch...

        Or am I mixing it up I think I am
with another famous female statue? Born
in its shadow and shook-foil hot the facts
slid off me also. I and the Arch we burned
to the touch. “Don’t touch that Arch a boy
we know got third-degree burns from touch-
        ing that Arch,” says my mother sitting
for her statue. She is metal on a hilltop and
so sad she isn’t a Cross. She was long ago
given to us by Ireland. What an underhand
        gift for an elsewhere to give, a door
that reminds you you can leave it. She raises
        her arm to brush my hair. Oh no female
armpit lovelier than the armpit of the Arch.


Source: Poetry (April 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2012
 Patricia  Lockwood

Biography

Patricia Lockwood’s poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, Tin House, and Poetry. She is the author of Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books, 2012).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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