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Silver Roses

The strings, as if they knew

the lovers are about to meet, begin

to soar, and when he marches in the door

they soar some more—half ecstasy, half pain,

the musical equivalent of rain—

while children who have grown up with one stare

steal further looks across a crowded room,

as goners tend to do.

My father loved it too,

warned me at dinner that he’d be a wreck

long before the final trio came

(Ja, ja, she sighed, and gave him up forever);

he found his Sophie better late than never

and took the fifth about his silent tears

but like him I’m a softie, with a massive

gift for feeling blue.

I went with others, threw

bouquets and caution to the whirling wind,

believing that the rhapsody on stage

would waft its wonders up to our cheap seats;

but mirrors can be beautiful fierce cheats,

delusions of an oversmitten mind;

I relished trouser roles until I had

no petals left to strew.

Up, down the avenue

I wandered like a ghost, I wondered why

a miracle is always a mirage,

then plodded home and set back all the clocks,

spent hard-won funds installing strong new locks,

telling myself if violence like this

could never sound like violins, I would

to art, not life, be true.

And I am trying to

fathom the way I got from there to here,

the joy that snuck up when I’d sworn off joy:

we’ve made a sterling start, we’ve got a plan

to watch it on your satin couch downtown

and I’ll be there upon the stroke of eight,

bearing in my trembling ungloved hand

a silver rose for you.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

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