Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge

(1879-1957)

“There was a sense of detachment—this was I and yet not I;
this was the wife of the President of the United States.”

Sunny Grace, Silent Cal. Vermonters transplanted to western Mass.,
Cohorts of the same “boating, picnicking, whist-playing set,” a couple
Of conventional Congregationalists. For tempest or passion, lass
And laddie, look elsewhere. Cal’s “I will be married to you” as soulful
As it gets. And this man had competition! Betrothed to another chap
She needn’t have signed “yes” to thin-lipped, tight-mouthed, costive
Coolidge. For two lines, let’s pretend she didn’t—our lagniappe
To her bio: single woman speed skating New England ice, restive
In stale air, remains unsubordinated. In Cal’s White House: no plenty,
No waste. No bobbed hair. No taking up Lindbergh’s offer to fly
Her…anywhere. Agoraphobic Cal snoozes twelve of every twenty-
Four, talk his exercise. Gracious Grace “stabilizes despair,” beautifies.
But there was that once: lost on a Black Hills ramble with bodyguard Jim,
Silent Cal turned raver. Where was the First Lady? Ha-ha. Not with him.

*

Kat Meads’s poetry has appeared / is forthcoming in Suffragette City, Blackbird, Rattle, Hamilton Stone Review andUnsplendid. Her most recent book publication, In This Season of Rage and Melancholy such Irrevocable Acts as These(2016), is a novel about (among other things) politics in the 1970s American South.

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