The neurologist gives us permission

to go to Rome: Live your lives.
We order cocktail shrimp at the hotel bar, 
fries with a parmesan snow. The waiter fills 
our flutes to the brim & we swim 
in the golden liquid & sink into the leather sofa,
the delights so cliché the cliché the delight 
we sing along & avoid eye contact 
with the lounge singer: sha-la-la-la-la 
two brown-eyed girls in love 
dark lipstick on the rim of the glass
& the lounge singer starts Lady in Red 
& we swoon & people around us eat their olives 
from shallow dishes & we order dessert 
to keep the night going, to keep 
the sweetness in our mouths


Copyright © 2024 by Seema Reza. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 21, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“This poem is about how living on the brink of bad news heightens the experience of joy. It’s a poem about aging and falling in love and knowing it will all end. It does all end.”
—Seema Reza