As warm darkness dropped each night,
a gentle breaker cresting the broad coastline,
roses sang long arias into my room.
Their melodies climbed the fence, mingling
with Monteverdi from a neighbor’s open window
as she fought the cancer that needed
a little more time to win her from the quick,
drag her forever beyond reach of any
pursuing Orpheus and all his silly song.

Our eyes met as she stood among her last
burning summer roses. She looked up
from trellised flowers, to my irrelevant youth,
smiled, and then, as if her wasted hand
held an invisible baton, cued to riotous bloom
just beneath my window, and, diva dazzled
in my box, all I could do was listen, inhale.
Looking back, now, I know I do her no harm.