An Open Letter to Mrs. Lincoln
I see ghosts of myself
veiled remnants of former selves
caught in whirls as if seen through moths
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.