Meditation of a Foot Soldier Nearing Medusa’s Sculpture Garden

So these are the monuments.

And these are the faces of the inevitable.

And if I am made one of them, rendered

motionless, made

marble by the gorgon’s stare, then

help me celebrate the abrupt

tombstone my torso becomes.

I’ve never been this far from home.

I’ve never lifted my arms above

my head in victory as the rose petals

fell like sand. If I am never

to move again, let me never

take for granted

how I’ve been granted

this permanence, this patience

to stand forever—a stone

in this small corner of history—

among this statuary, able

to outlast birds, winged

horses and their riders.

Matthew Olzmann’s first collection of poems, Mezzanines (2013) was awarded a Kundiman Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Gulf Coast and Rattle, among many other journals. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, the Kresge Arts Foundation and Bread Loaf, Olzmann currently teaches at Warren Wilson College and is co-editor of The Collagist.