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About this Poem 

"This poem took more than seven years to write. It began with Lincoln's last speech to Springfield, which I found in a small book at a library sale in Pueblo, Colorado. The book had been checked out once, in 1917. These points of contact with Lincoln's words—from me to the lone reader to Lincoln himself—ignited my need to capture here the passage of his farewell through time."
—David Keplinger

Wave

David Keplinger

Lincoln, leaving Springfield, 1861,
         boards a train with a salute: but it is weak.
To correct it, he slides his hand away
         from his face as if waving, as if brushing
the snows of childhood from his eyes.

The train is coming east. In the window
         Lincoln watches his face. You’ll grow old
the moment you arrive, he says to this face.
         But you will never reach great age. The train
speeds like the cortical pressure wave

in the left lateral sinus, say, a bullet
         in the skull. Then he will have his salute.
Then they will love him. Then eternity will slow, fall
         like snow. Then the treaty with huge silence
which he, his face exhausted, must sign.
 

Copyright © 2013 by David Keplinger. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 16, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by David Keplinger. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 16, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

David Keplinger

by this poet

poem

                —David Abram
 

Like an enormous leech the pancreas lies with its head tucked into the duodenum, upside down, the tail outstretched over it, an animal curled in on itself. In the preserve jar of the belly, it wriggles like a strange,

poem
He didn’t want the EKG. He didn’t want
To know. But the nurse attached
Its greasy patches to his chest to read.
From which all things spray violent
And out, there is a point of singularity.
In Michelangelo’s sculpture of the heart,
For instance, the heart wears the costume
Of David’s body. In the eyes of the