In the Doria Pamphili garden,
most of the granite niches are empty,
the male gods have lost their genitals,
and the Great Mother, Hera, has no head.
Something has gone awry
in the artificial lake.
Burrowing deep into the black banks
enclosed by wire mesh,
families of nutria are eradicating-
with webbed hind feet,
blunt muzzled heads
and long orange incisors-
Pope Innocent X's pleasure garden's
Gothic as the unconscious,
the heavy tapered bodies
root along the irrigation ditches,
making their way in a criminal trot
towards the swans, whose handsome,
ecclesiastical wings open out
Each day I come back.
The sky is Della Robbia blue.
As I rise to my feet,
and self-possessed as the ambulance
bearing my half-dead Mother-
grasps into the depths
and tears a weed up,
dripping like a chandelier,
while paddling behind are the derelict rodents,
hankering-with big sleepy eyes,
suggesting something like matrimonial bliss,
and plush gray fur,
undulating like the coat my mother wore-
to hunt the grass-shrouded
cygnet eggs and gut
their bloody embryos.