Letter to My Lover as Abraham Lincoln by Denton Loving

Just once, I wish you’d put yourself under my stovepipe. 

I passed through airport security only to find you waiting 

at the gate with luggage and a ticket for the seat next to mine.

Wheels down safe in Florida, I tried to lose you by slipping

into the Dali Museum where I considered Salvador’s

naked wife Gala, in cruciform windows, forever contemplating 

the Mediterranean. As I squinted in pleasure at her beauty, 

your face snapped into view. You had been there all along, 

my escape as false as the mystery of identity. Your generals 

could only dream of the subtle ways you invade the enemy 

consciousness with your myths of honesty and homespun wit, 

as commonplace as pancakes at the pancake house, 

as tireless as termites over millennia, consecrated in the church 

of illusions. Yes, your Dali magic has some charm, turning 

elephants into obelisks, sailors into saints, water into wine. 

But honestly, I wish you’d slash the miraculous manipulations. 

Being raised, fed and nurtured in your cult, sometimes water

is all I want. I have worshipped at your altar, so I feel qualified 

to tell you: this is why so many are unnerved by surrealism.

According to Scientific American, we need as few as 252 pixels 

to identify the face of someone we know and possibly love, 

or once did. The real question is how I break through the layers

of optical scales to know myself. That’s all I’m trying to do. 

No need to feel so threatened. Let’s each do our own thing.

You should buy a digital camera and shoot some nature photos. 

I’ll practice being a person who spends all his pennies.

Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collections Crimes Against Birds (Main Street Rag, 2015) and Tamp (forthcoming from Mercer University Press).  Follow him online at https://dentonlovingblog.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @DentonLoving.