Lincoln Bank

Resound of random memory
from a throwaway line

in the George Saunders story
in this week’s New Yorker –

that bronze Lincoln bank
reminds me of when

my sister and I each had
piggy banks, hers a bust

of JFK and mine of Lincoln,
gifts from our Chicago Grandpa,

which rested atop the dressers
in our respective 10×10 foot bedrooms,

two dead presidents, two martyrs,
forever linked beyond time

by the iconic drawing of Lincoln
as a seated marble statue

in his famous memorial, weeping
with his larger-than-life head

buried in his larger-than-life hands
at the news of Kennedy’s death,

and by the holes in their heads.
(That’s where you put the pennies.)


Barn Dance

You told me
Rilke described love
as a winding path
through a deep dark wood
to the base of the fortress wall
of the beloved
but how could he be so certain
at 24?

I told you
marriage is 30 years
besieged in a castle
fixing plumbing.

You told me
a funny story about a car
and I didn’t get around to telling you
the one about a duck.

The first thing I noticed about you
was your autonomic stance with feet angled
on dancer legs folded like origami birds.

I couldn’t find the Socrates carrot
(the poison hemlock was not of the tree
but of a flowering herb of the carrot family)
but Johnny’s does sell a Socrates cuke!

With arms raised
and fingers touching
like the Gothic arch of the barn roof
you said they would smell you
and it was like dug earth
like mown hay turned in the sun
like summer.

Does it even matter whether we come to Plato
through Kundera or though Hedwig?
Either way there is loneliness
the search for the other half
for love to make us whole.

Here’s your partner everyone swing
               now promenade right off the floor
                              that’s all there is there ain’t no more