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poetry Gone . . .

California poet Lee Rossi explores the impact of toppling old heroes, their myths, their monuments, their wrongs.

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Gone . . .

By Lee Rossi

Our ramshackle square, once center of the town,

now itself de-centered—what shielded our eyes,

entering that proud civic space, has disappeared

overnight, its plinth shabby with scurf.


What was it, rising peerless from its bolts, and now

gone, a necessary background, testimony

to our staunch refusal to bow to any belief

but our own? Was it saint? Hero?


Some President or General? A figure out of myth

perhaps? Layers of time, the pressure of belief,

turns everything to myth. As long as it was there,

we never noticed, never mentioned it,


but now we find the emptiness an affront,

filled with birds and an unexpected burst of sunlight.

What was only a frozen violence is loose now,

returned to the hearts that first gave it form.


Lee Rossi’s newest book, Darwin’s Garden, will be released in early 2019 by Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Ghost Diary and Wheelchair Samurai. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, and many other venues. You can find his interviews and reviews at  and