Ida Saxton McKinley

(1847-1907)

“Nothing can make me happy again.”

Ida’s idea of a punishing God, mutatis mutandis. Two daughters born
Only to pass. Lone brother George sidewalk slain in Canton.
Mother succumbs, father follows, history’s next nut job, Leon C., sworn
Enemy of the “enemy of the people” takes out another president, stuns
The same nation, deprives epileptic, phlebitic Ida of her man/servant
William, Sweet William, who halted Congress to bring her thread. Not
That you’d think it of invalid Ida, but in her day: charming, observant,
Actuarially shrewd. Managed a bank, for godsakes. First fiancé: a hot-
Blooded ex-Rebel—but, yep, he dropped dead too. Did Ida fall, smack
her head? If she convulsed, collapsed, beckoned, Sweet William rescued.
If a president’s wife needs goof balls, goof balls arrive, none keeping track
Of how many. Loopy Ida in her velvet chair, knitting slippers to foist onto
Charity cases. The case in Buffalo: “Careful, oh do be careful, how you tell
my wife.” Took it on the chin, Ida did. Another—just another—death knell.

*

Kat Meads’s poetry has appeared / is forthcoming in Suffragette City, Blackbird, Rattle, Hamilton Stone Review and Unsplendid. 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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