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

77. Barry Holden

THE VERY fall my sister Nancy Knapp

Set fire to the house

They were trying Dr. Duval

For the murder of Zora Clemens,

And I sat in the court two weeks

Listening to every witness.

It was clear he had got her in a family way;

And to let the child be born

Would not do.

Well, how about me with eight children,

And one coming, and the farm

Mortgaged to Thomas Rhodes?

And when I got home that night,

(After listening to the story of the buggy ride,

And the finding of Zora in the ditch,)

The first thing I saw, right there by the steps,

Where the boys had hacked for angle worms,

Was the hatchet!

And just as I entered there was my wife,

Standing before me, big with child.

She started the talk of the mortgaged farm,

And I killed her.