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.
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.