Death of Lincoln

Endings

Mr. Lincoln died
In a tiny, crowded room at the end
Of a narrow hallway.
They laid him at an angle across the small bed, knees up.
His blood on the linen sheets smelled like warm copper pennies.
After the death rattle,
Mr. Stanton said, “now he belongs to the ages,”
Though some thought he said “angels.”

Crows skittered on the roof under an iron sky.
Reporters in the street were suddenly still.
Later, the linen bed sheets,
Coppery brown and ruined,
Were burned on a pile of leaves
While the crows watched.

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