He awoke to a sobbing down the hall
and he rose, fighting the pains in his feet,
but when they press oaken floorboaords
their wooden groans match his as he makes
his way to a great room lit by keoresene lamps
as well as by a bright moon slithering
its way through a tall narrow window.
Uninvited guests chatter and weep.
Yet he is unwilling to examine their faces
lest he finds grief etched in their eyes.
His head tilts toward a corner of the room.
A draped coffin assaults his senses and
numbs his voice for a moment.
He lays hold of a guard in blue and
demands to know who lies in that box.
“The President,” the guard whispers, his voice
tumbling into a cavernous moan.
“No!” the man cries out, his soul
rent in two like the Temple curtain.
Surely this cannot be him.
Still he wonders how Mary Todd will bear it.