The flowers at first I thought overabundant—
marigolds heartily edging the plat
like an infantry of Roman soldiers
hunkered down in turtle formation,
their bronze shields protecting
the center prize (that’s you, Teutonic
statue of Adonis) against an onslaught
of arrows; & at your base in bold letters
for all onlookers to see: Goethe,
Mastermind of the German People
& get this, of all possible dates—1913.
In Rome, I strolled by your grave, Goethe,
at the non-Catholic cemetery
down past the Coliseum
even further down past the Caracolla Baths
where I’m sure if you had looked anything
like this statue of Adonis,
you would most certainly have been popular.
Quite the glücksfall, it was, to find you
when I was only looking for Keats & Shelley.
Now, here at Diversey Harbor, you are praised
as a fleshy Aryan youth, all Byron spit curls,
totally naked except for a cloak
clinging to your buttocks
discretely covering your schwanz in the front,
which, by the way, is as sexless as G.I. Joe’s.
But it is your chest that truly impresses,
sculpted as a warrior’s breastplate,
& down on your meaty thigh
angled out to best display muscle-mass,
a German eagle perches like the family pet.
I look back inside your border
of flowers and finally see the silvery lamb’s ear,
the blue-flowered salvia
& feathery cockscomb flaming like fireworks;
but borders deceive as yours does—the outer edge
is really nothing more than yellow daisies—so many
common daisies like the ones sprouting wild
along highways, and all yours encroach
on the middle flowers
as if to boot the other blooms out.