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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

144. Batterton Dobyns

DID my widow flit about

From Mackinac to Los Angeles,

Resting and bathing and sitting an hour

Or more at the table over soup and meats

And delicate sweets and coffee?

I was cut down in my prime

From overwork and anxiety.

But I thought all along, whatever happens

I’ve kept my insurance up,

And there’s something in the bank,

And a section of land in Manitoba.

But just as I slipped I had a vision

In a last delirium:

I saw myself lying nailed in a box

With a white lawn tie and a boutonnière,

And my wife was sitting by a window

Some place afar overlooking the sea;

She seemed so rested, ruddy and fat,

Although her hair was white.

And she smiled and said to a colored waiter:

“Another slice of roast beef, George.

Here’s a nickel for your trouble.”