Thursday, March 29, 2012

Speaking of Lincoln

In honor of Bernard Waber's books
this is a story from my Home Recordings
(2009, Bird Dog Publishing) originally
published in Pie in the Sky magazine #24
March 15, 1993 12:24 PM:


They decided to wait until winter to cut at

the blackberry bushes piled behind their house.

When January set in across everything, the vines

would shed their leaves and snake back to burrow,

then they could cut them and rake the ground and

turn it into a garden in Spring. It would be good

to have it gone. In August they picked ripe berries

to make their last ever jam and pies.

Early in December, snow fell, but they were

going to wait a little longer. The vines tangled

in the cold. Wearing double layers of clothes,

Elmer Ford marched up and down the hall,

ringing a bell. This was the morning they had

all been waiting for. Children came running

through doors. Outside, they fell around the

frozen vines and sliced at them with rakes

and wooden swords. Elmer even tied a rope

from the bumper of his Model T and dragged

roots out of the ground. That’s how he dislodged

the tube. It was plowed out of the earth like

a bomb, it sparkled as something golden

from Mars in the weak sunlight.

Elmer’s children were making drum noises on it

with their rakes and weapons when he got out of

the tin car and made them stop. He examined

the steel hollow tube and he found letters on it,

underneath the dirt and weeds. Already one of

his sons had discovered a silver door handle

on the side and he turned it open. The hiss

of steam threw them all backwards, they stared

as a tall man stood up. It was him, it was

Abraham Lincoln. He put on his stovepipe hat

to shade his eyes from the glare of the

twentieth century America. To get his bearings

here, in a ruin of blackberry vines fifty years

after the war, he cleared his throat and gave

the Gettysburg Address again.

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