Anniversary Waltz

by Helen Reed Lehman

The corsage on her shoulder is brown;
Bruised gardenias she likes them that way
They stayed pressed in her memory book,
And go back on her shoulder each year,
And the annual trudge round the floor
Has worn holes in the shoes of her soul.

The musicians retired last June,
And the player piano won’t play.
She remembers the tune so she sings,
Leaning close to his ear, “I will die
In the jail of your chilly neglect.”
A song she knows better than, “Star Dust.”

But she’s sure that it’s better to stay
In this shabby old Roseland of loss. The trick
Is to dance just as near as she can
To the door without blundering through.