Odd. Just plain odd. No other word for it.
It’s hard to see, against the backdrop
of beech and brush at the edge of the river.
Fisherfolk stare across the water—pondering
why a statue would be planted in such a spot.
Two reedy posts for a base, a torso in the mold
of a bloated football, the top an L-shaped pole
slightly angled. Odd spot for artwork—waterfowl
are the area’s main visitors. Mallards fly low,
leapfrogging each other. An osprey jets down,
hooks a fish, leaves. Every 30 seconds,
a cormorant slides feet-first to a watery landing,
like a baseball player trying to beat the tag
at third. Sounds are few, faint: plop of a lure
breaking the dull green surface, soft rhythm of paddles
as kayakers mosey downstream. In two bends
they‘ll spy the iconic obelisk of the Washington
Monument. The only other urban inkling,
now and then, is a silver Boeing 757 lumbering
toward a landing—like the cormorant, feet-first.
The statue is tiny compared to bronze equestrians
who inhabit parks and traffic circles across the city;
curiously, they include Joan of Arc. Someone
with a strong arm—and stronger conceit—might hurl
a rock across the Potomac at the statue; it would fall short.
That thought takes off instantly as frawk, frawk
breaks the stillness, the statue sprouts colossal wings
and, graceful as a ballerina, the great blue heron lifts skyward.
During a Washington-based career in politics, policy and news, Rebecca Leet has been widely published and quoted in newspapers, magazines, and books. She turned her pen to poetry in 2015 after 40 years as a journalist and author. Her first poem was published in Passager in Winter 2017. She lives in Arlington and draws much of her inspiration from nature, whether in her backyard or idling along the Potomac.
Image: By Walter Siegmund – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=706818