A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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Shelly Bryant


Mr. Lincoln’s Program

“...upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

She claps heartily, her young soul moved by words just beyond her comprehension.

“Let’s see him again later, Mom.”

“Why do you want to hear the same speech again? There are too many attractions for us to see as it is, even without repeating any of them.”

“But it will be good to hear what else he has to say.”

Her parents exchange smiles, as her father’s hand comes to rest gently on her bronzed curls. “That’s not how it works. He doesn’t have anything else to say. He’s only programmed to give this one speech, over and over again.”

Saddened, she looks back over her shoulder to the darkened stage.

a longing glance cast
top-hatted puppet's right eye
closes in a wink

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