Who thinks of him
an actual person walking around?
But Casa Buonarroti displays his leather shoes,
three of them anyhow, telling us his height:
5 foot 2. No one’s as tall as they once were.

Marble in his chair, Lincoln sits,
height 19 feet. Maybe in the dark hours
he prowls those columns, or, unable to stand,
only mutters better union, better union.
Part of him yet loves Marian Anderson, 1939,
singing, “Let freedom ring.”

And not so far away, reside the National Portraits.
Baldwin, James Arthur. Hurston, Zora Neale, with hat.
Richard Wright in a gray wool suit.

So Baldwin, Hurston, Wright, Anderson, Lincoln.
Michelangelo at home. Me and you.

Lex Runciman’s newest book is titled Unlooked For (2022), from Salmon Poetry. An Oregon Book Award winner, he lives in Portland, Oregon.