Anniversary Poem

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At the end, among the wincing
of the fireflies and party lights and candles
and only now and then a camera flash;
with the tremulous collective voice
of crickets swelling beyond choice
while talk, though still convincing,
grew retiring;
when the clinking of the glasses
after dinner and the drunken passes
of the lonely–once invited
or ignored–had finally subsided
or led to lush conspiring
around the corners and soft handles
of the evening and the children slept
in laps or leapt
in cartwheels on the lawn,
their gold-or-silver-glittered sandals
gathered on a chair;
how could we prepare
for more than “Thank you” and “Goodbye”
and settling the bill?
After all the checks were drawn,
the wicks reduced to ash,
the last lingerers’ pleas to stay in touch
met with the last “We will;”
we left, believing in the lie
nor ever dreaming of the day
we’d marvel at the photo, “Who were they?”