噩耗 / Sorrowful news
sings the telegram, and Lincoln’s body slides
from DC to Springfield, his infant son, Willie, boxed
beside him. Buffalo, Cleveland, Painesville, Ashtabula.
Two coffins, 1700 miles, 14 days on 14 railroads.
One day a great line will unite us, the president
promised. Father and son displayed
capital after capital. Louisville, New Albany,
Baltimore, Chicago. The black trains beach
upon a tide of roses. Can you believe still
in the promise of this union? I saw, General Dodge
wrote, a little negro drop on his knees and offer prayers.
While above the dark news thrums on wires, gone
gone gone gone, across poles tall as the ones
from which the president ordered 38 Sioux to be hung.