Honest Abe Gets Mad Jealous of the Pretty, Successful Girl from My High School
You are tall, but I
am Lincoln. I tower over you
with my addresses and bolo tie, the worn-out sound
of my backwoods accent, and my mythic rail-splitting
backstory. Sure, you look fine in flowing
maxi-dresses and I’m a depressive,
but they’re never going to give up one minted cent
for you. Here. Have two, of mine, my two cents:
Beauty is overrated. In fact, it can act as Satan’s limb.
It sends emancipation and other five-dollar words blazing
through my temple.
But you wouldn’t understand.
Neither would you know how hard it is to drive in Illinois
where all the license plates repeat
a face like mine
as they tailgate me and then pass and slow down — I’m cutting myself off
constantly in the land of me. Revel in your silver
spoon, your anonymity, your white-stripped teeth,
and moleless neck —
Perhaps I should rise above these petty grievances
and from my own ugliness to my own height, but whether I shall
ever be better, I cannot tell.
I awfully forbode I shall not.
1. Satan’s limb is what it’s rumored Mary Todd’s step-mother called her.
2. The other italicized lines in “Honest Abe Gets Mad Jealous of the Pretty, Successful Girl from My High School” are direct quotes from Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his law partner, John Stuart.
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