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

53. Willard Fluke

MY wife lost her health,

And dwindled until she weighed scarce ninety pounds.

Then that woman, whom the men

Styled Cleopatra, came along.

And we—we married ones

All broke our vows, myself among the rest.

Years passed and one by one

Death claimed them all in some hideous form,

And I was borne along by dreams

Of God’s particular grace for me,

And I began to write, write, write, reams on reams

Of the second coming of Christ.

Then Christ came to me and said,

“Go into the church and stand before the congregation

And confess your sin.”

But just as I stood up and began to speak

I saw my little girl, who was sitting in the front seat—

My little girl who was born blind!

After that, all is blackness!