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

4. Fletcher McGee

SHE took my strength by minutes,

She took my life by hours,

She drained me like a fevered moon

That saps the spinning world.

The days went by like shadows,

The minutes wheeled like stars.

She took the pity from my heart,

And made it into smiles.

She was a hunk of sculptor’s clay,

My secret thoughts were fingers:

They flew behind her pensive brow

And lined it deep with pain.

They set the lips, and sagged the cheeks,

And drooped the eyes with sorrow.

My soul had entered in the clay,

Fighting like seven devils.

It was not mine, it was not hers;

She held it, but its struggles

Modeled a face she hated,

And a face I feared to see.

I beat the windows, shook the bolts.

I hid me in a corner—

And then she died and haunted me,

And hunted me for life.