Promise

by Candy Rohde

Ernest longed for genteel Cornelia,
a woman of elegant carriage, a spinner of cobwebs of lace.
He courted her gowned in infinite tucks of sheerest mull cotton,
in a silk carriage dress with kid gloves and a cape.
He craved to unpin her twists of thick hair,
release the manifold buttons that followed the line
of her straight whale-boned spine.

He wanted to hear the purr of her laughter,
to enfold her with notes from his rare violin.
When his bow stroked the chords of Mozart and Bach,
her fastenings loosened, undone by the sound.
He blossomed into a performer of promise,
slated to solo at Carnegie Hall,
a grand tour of Europe to follow.

But my great-grandfather Adelbert
placed his strict banker’s thumbs
in the lapels of his suit,
stuck out his custom made shoe
in the staunch Spitzer Strut,
tripped my mild grandfather Ernest
into dropping his bow to become
a skilled engineer of suitable means,
who designed soaring spans over rivers
to win sixty fine years with Cornelia,
their devotion as inspiring as cranes….
but sometimes I wonder
if he played on a stage
in his dreams.

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