Rosemont Senior Village

Partnered with walkers, my audience

shuffles into the assembly room

to listen to me fence


with the piano this afternoon.

I pick out the melodies by ear,

a diminished gift, notes


dropping like flies, but my fans don’t hear.

Wandering third story passages, my wife

Irene babbles lyrics


of the good old summertime, wartime

when the beauty queen meets a sailor

shipped to the Philippines.


After my discharge, three strong sons spawned

in the heat of peace.  Undershorts, sheets

crowd the line at moon muted dawn.


Bees croon, broil in the cedar eaves.

Boys wrestle, bruise, then – presto – goodbye.

All that buzzing, bleeding,


laundry, leaving, must have broken her mind.

My hands stumble through a serenade –

clap, clapping – coda signs


that lead her down the stairs to my side.

Hips flush, we sway, tune up our pieces.

Goodnight Irene goodnight.


Ellen Sazzman has been published in Moment, Comstock Review, Beltway Quarterly, Common Ground, CALYX, and Poetica, among others.  She was a winner of the 2016 Moving Words Poetry Competition and a finalist in the 2010 Split This Rock poetry contest.  Sazzman, who is is a mother, grandmother, and retired lawyer living in Maryland, received Northern Virginia Review’s 2012 outstanding poetry award, a Pushcart nomination from Bloodroot Literary Magazine, and honorable mentions in the Anna Rosenberg poetry contest.