Edgar LeeMastersUS stamp
Mrs. Merritt
by Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology [1915]

Silent before the jury
Returning no word to the judge when he asked me
If I had aught to say against the sentence,
Only shaking my head.
What could I say to people who thought
That a woman of thirty-five was at fault
When her lover of nineteen killed her husband?
Even though she had said to him over and over,
“Go away, Elmer, go far away,
I have maddened your brain with the gift of my body:
You will do some terrible thing.”
And just as I feared, he killed my husband;
With which I had nothing to do, before God!
Silent for thirty years in prison
And the iron gates of Joliet
Swung as the gray and silent trusties
Carried me out in a coffin.

[To read more Spoon River Anthology click here.]

Advertisements