Volume 69, Number 1 · Fall 2019

we love george washington

we love george washington,
his skull growing cherry trees
from each tooth’s nest.
so so many, all of him,
all the george washingtons
across the country, portrait
neck up, portrait tall,
portrait face, portrait with mary,
cannon bloom & crossing the delaware;
the water: viper cold & snap.
a bullet hole through a blue coat.

your family loves george washington
& so does mine & so does everyone’s.
what’s not to love about fathers?
leave offerings: bowls of bayonets
& gun powder & folded federalist papers

all george washingtons came down
from their frames tonight,
statues blinking & stretching their ankles,
testing their bodies. i noticed, so
i follow them, all of them
gathering in the backyard, why
my backyard? they won’t all fit.

in seventh grade my teacher said
george washington wasn’t a good-looking man,
he said that his face was scarred & he
was gangly & too tall.

the george washingtons compliment
each other, they hold arms up,
touch chins; they inspect. they tell
the same war stories. we love
love love george washington.

because of the crowding
i march them to the bridge with
their name. the George
Washington Bridge. they ask why there’s
nets on the sides & i explain
the impulse to jump. before i could
finish, one had already gone,

arms out like a goose, falling
heavy & without a sound. all the cars
on the two levels of the bridge
still rushing in & out, we love
george washington we love him

they kept dropping, kissing
each other good-bye, i regretted
showing them, i told them to stop,
to stay, i said
george washington we all love
you, we love love love you

the impact in the water inaudible
over tires & car horns

the last one was half my size &
he lingered, pacing for a moment,
a smaller likeness. i told him
that my father’s favorite president
is george washington.

he wept, the largeness of it
all was too much, i didn’t try
to stop him.

Robin Gow is a queer and trans poet, editor, and educator in the New York City area. He is the author of the chapbook Honeysuckle by Finishing Line Press and his first full-length collection is forthcoming with Tolsun Books. He is the editor-at-large of Village of Crickets and a managing editor at the Nasiona.