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.
 

More by David Keplinger

View from Outside

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 Judean
There is no fear of what the heart has made.
You are going into cardiac arrest, this nurse said.
That’s when he saw the thing the other way:
Something mute sat like a stone
Inside the clenching and unclenching of his heart.
He had the stone. Only it would pay attention.

"An Insistent and Eager Harmoniousness to Things"

                —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, medieval cure. When we sleep, Anicka, the pancreas secretes its juices, reverting tonight’s toutlerre into Germanic syllables again: cake, meat, blood. All of this healing is out of our hands. I turn to you, completely unconscious. Completely unconscious, you turn to me.