Reflections on Gettysburg Battlefield

today, i saw a monument purged from earth
& was reminded nothing is divine
awful vibrations of metal on stone
felt metal on bone                   tremors from pickaxe
on concrete                  resonated through shoes
& into my own bodily structures:
tendons & muscles, veins, synapses &
cartilage rattled                    that unholy tooth,
finally free from soft brown gums,
pivoted at awkward angles
as man & machine moved as one

men placed that marker
thought it would stand there          forever,
it has been moved, once, twice, three times
since its inauguration               many have said,
& here
is where the brave men fought,
& here
is where the brave men died.
& they have been wrong

E. Rhodes Thompson is a second-year MFA candidate at George Mason University. They are the editor-in-chief of hellscape and the poetry editor of So to Speak. Their current work has been featured or is forthcoming in Juked, DELUGE, Spy Kids Review, and elsewhere