Sunday Poem

The Death Givers

Almost all the statuaries were killers
if on horseback, add ten thousand
to the toll. And sword-bearers?
Notch another zero. We think
we worship life, but we have
made a botch of this, encircling
ponds and trees with the smelt
of disused weapons, planting flowers
around the ankles of killers,
even the birds know not to use them
as lighthouses. Death
is our archangel, our leaders
bronze themselves in advance—
even a dog can’t trot through the palace
halls these days without looking over
its shoulder.

by John Freeman
 The Park 
Copper Canyon Press, 2020