Lincoln in an Upscale Mall
by Carol Coffee Reposa



I imagine him in this place
That bears his name, taking a break
From rail-splitting
To sip a latte at Starbuck's
Or easing his gangly frame
Into an armchair
At Barnes & Noble
To pore over volumes of the law,
Fine-tune his Gettysburg Address.

Then the Great Emancipator
Might cross the parking lot
In long, lanky strides
To buy a pair of Birkenstocks
For his five-mile walk
To return a book, stopping on the way
At Whole Foods to get
Some free-range chicken
And gluten-free cookies for his mother.

Next it's on to Chico's
To choose a designer scarf
For Mary Todd,
Perhaps a little something
At Victoria's Secret,
A brief stop at Toy Express
To pick up hoverboards
And LEGOS
For his sons

Before he returns to his barge
And poles it down the Missouri,
Churning up a wash of mud and guns
Iron manacles
And blood-stained cotton bolls
Floating toward the banks,
Teeming hospitals and fragments
Of tents, past Springfield and New Salem,
Decades roiling in his wake.

Back at the mall
Customers crowd P.F. Chang's,
Chattering about the Kardashians
Over their chopsticks
While the Sixteenth President
Trims his scraggly beard, lines seaming
His raw-boned face like tributaries
Of a great river, and finally puts on
A boiled dress shirt
For an evening at the theater.






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