Julianna Baggott

An Open Letter to Mrs. Lincoln  


I see ghosts of myself

                        veiled remnants of former selves

caught in whirls as if seen through moths

or bedsheets 

             through the delicate clockwork of age

the paling of this life -- the dust of children,

the lint of love in my pockets.

                                           It's an omen

that we all know too well. Death, Mrs. Lincoln,

it's upon us.

                It lurches in the molded kitchen.

It's caught in the lame dog's funnel.

(Don't bite the sutures.)

It's restless in the meadow of our discontent.

(There are no more meadows. There is only

discontent.) I am wearing the tall hat of my

decay -- a fallen hat, so

                              calicified, bent in two --

arthritic hat -- oh scoliosis -- how the back brace

didn't fix me then and nothing will fix me now.

For here, on display

                 in the box seats, you and I sit --

Mrs. Lincoln, we were once wee pretty things that

grew squat with fever and madness and loss.

The shot will ring out. We will hear it before anyone

else because we know the chamber, the bullet.

Omen after omen after omen. We collect them

like snow globes. We shake them

                                                  in our fists,

watch the snow grow paler,

                                      paler and then paler still. 




QuickMuse recommends: