Mary Virginia

I thought of Jennie Wade
when I watched city workers
operate heavy equipment
to remove an equestrian statue
of Robert E. Lee.

She would have lived past twenty
if Lee did not direct his army
into Pennsylvania.

Think of all the bread dough
she would have kneaded.

Jennie might have married
and had her own children
instead of helping her sister Georgia Anna
take care of a new born.

Jennie was first buried in the back yard
then the cemetery at the German Reform Church
and at last moved to Evergreen Cemetery
about a year after Lincoln gave his famous address.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Jennie Wade at Wikipedia

Stop Watch

I decided orators
when they spoke to the public
did so in bold-italics.

I wrote a book
The Sex Lives of Confederate Generals
and drew from the source material

of diaries written by women
who were not the Generals’ wives—
there was no entry for Robert E. Lee.

It took me a decade to connect
the orator Edward Everett
who preceded Lincoln

at the commemoration
of Gettysburg National Cemetery
to Edward Everett Horton

who narrated Fractured Fairy Tales
and played Mr. Witherspoon
in Arsenic and Old Lace.

I stood on a rock
in a snowstorm
with my head turned upwards

my mouth open
and caught snowflakes
for eleven minutes fifty-three seconds.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney