north fifth street poem #17

seventy score and seven runners passed
my door this morning many in blue t-shirts
the lincoln half-marathon: I’ve lived in
lincolnland over 40 years now; one gets
inoculated though I used to take classes to
his home on mary’s birthday give cake to  
passersby I’ve been slow to read team of rivals
finished it last night fought tears throughout
his later years the repeated deaths fought the
depths of my child’s death though I have not  
walked through battlegrounds strewn with
bodies sprawled thick as stones on a scree
touching the dying no wonder his profound
sadness punctuated by the humor he needed
to endure no wonder mary was as she was I  
see her now living across this street a recluse
dishonored estranged from the remaining
child who committed her I see lincoln in my own
foyer 1860 exchanging banter with the workmen
he who shook 1700 hands in a white house hour
it’s a true legend this house visit it fits and now
I watch 1700 runners, thinking how different
our country would be had he lived had his
children lived he of the 70 times seven
griefs did not spurn individual ones how I too
would be different were my child here loving  
this spectacle: my house, our street, these running
feet we all are hallowed by his presence among us

2013 Jacqueline Jackson

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for more than 40 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Now more than ever, we’re asking for your support to continue providing our community with real news that everyone can access, free of charge.

We’re also offering a home delivery option as an added convenience for friends of the paper.

Click here to subscribe, or simply show your support for Illinois Times.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment