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If I Had Another Face

Aaron Anstett

“If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”
                                         —Lincoln-Douglas Debates

“Abe Lincoln Was the Father of Professional Wrestling!”
                                        —Weekly World News

Once, as a young man, Abe Lincoln choked on a cherry stone.
His eyes grew bigger. His face turned colors.
Abe Lincoln clutched his own throat, tilted over the dropped axe
whose handle pointed to the stand of trees
where the wood he’d been splitting bloomed.
A crow crossed over. It was noon.

Abe Lincoln chortles at the joke he’s told
to the mother of a boy who’s died in the war
come two days by horse to visit him.
He touches his forehead, catches his breath,
repeats the punch line, “A fly in the butter churn. A fly.”

Leaves pitch in a fit of wind.
It’s uncommonly sunny.
Some rise from piles.
Some just now falling are caught in the currents.
Abe Lincoln watches them.
They will not arrange themselves this way again.

A masked Abe Lincoln prowls the ring.

Aaron Anstett

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