Arlington National Cemetery

Ó-po-po whispered my Arcadian father
As the four of us came over the dazzling slope
Of freshly mown grass aglitter with morning dew.

Open-mouthed, dactylic stress that keeps
The breathless canopy of trees idyllic,
Exactly like in Poussin’s painting, where shepherds

Puzzle over an ancient tomb inscribed
Et in Arcadia ego, not knowing what
On earth it means in their neoclassical Eden.

My staggered father knew, yet didn’t know,
From World War II, that there could be so many—
So many snow-white crosses, and all of them staked