by Alan Feldman

Did Lincoln hear from his long-dead mother
when he was shot? This morning
I hear from mine, though only a few words––
substantial, but not explicit––God bless––
brief as the note of a bell––
as I drive to work beneath a canopy
of orange leaves. And that’s all.
No advice about any of my problems.
As if she’s become a monument
to her epochal self, with room only
for a phrase despite her eloquence
all those many years. But why am I still
consoled? Ah well. It can be like that.
Even Lincoln, seated in his monument,
gets just a few immortal passages
carved around him as he stares
fixedly into the distance toward the dome
beneath which people decide things,
unable to see what’s to come    A glance
vague as a blessing. Some blessings are vague––
especially the brief ones
that cover everything, like the sky.


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