Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Sunset Sally

by Ash Rosenberg

Sunset Sally sat by the lake
She'd sit there every day.
She'd watch the water
And smoke her pipe
And dream her life away.

Dreams were all that Sally had
All that she had left.
The local kids, they call'd her mad,
Of all her wits bereft.
They never saw that she was sad,
That she smoked her pipe and wept.

But then there were the other days
The dreams of days of yore
When Sally and her lover Bill
Would walk along the shore
And speak about their life ahead
To be apart no more.

Bill sailed upon the tide one day
And Sally's heart was broken.
Her love, her life had gone away
After words of love he'd spoken.
A single rose was all he left,
One sad and lonely token.

Bill's ship returned, but he did not
From that far distant shore.
On foreign shores, her love was shot,
And will lie there evermore.
In grave unmarked by any stone
Recorded not by any lore.

Sunset Sally still sits by the lake,
she sits there every day.
As sad as sitting at a wake
Holding her tears at bay.
Life's too much for Sally to take
So her mind has gone away.

Fairies, ponies, roses too
All these pretties that she saw
Smiles her eyes, dreams come true.
Bill in black, skipping across the floor
Come to take her for a waltz or two,
Sally knows there's always more.

In the ballroom of her mind,
Bill and Sally dance all night.
She gazes on his face so kind,
And everything is once more right.
In his dark hair her fingers wind,
His smile is dazzling in the light.

And yet a secret dark did lie
So heavy 'pon her soul,
Of a past that would not die
Guilt's bell a nightly toll
To fix her full reluctant eye
Upon a ghastly hole.

Love doth not fade
Like the rose in her hair
Petals floating in cocktails made
From champagne most fair
Music leading her body to sway
Down to the grave, where her wrists she did tear

As she sat among the graves
Midst blood so brilliant red
She saw her Bill sit by her side
And heard the words he said:
”Although I wait on the other side,
I beg you, live instead”

“'Twas not your scorn that made me leave
Nor yet my broken heart.
I would not have it that you grieve
Although we two must part.
So, my love, take this reprieve:
A new life must you start.”

“Remember all the things we had
The good times that we shared
As you go forward with your life
Remember that I cared
It grieves me how you've wept for me
To see how you've despaired.”

Sally barked a wild laugh
And bitter tears did flow
To mingle with the crimson wine
Pooled in her lap below.
Then to the phantom gravely sighed,
”My secret you should know.”

“My brother dear, he cautioned me
One wild and windy night
To be the best that I could be.
Your will is stong, and there your fight
Must stand, and never flee
From evil of the night.”

“Fight long and hard
He said to me
Against your evil ways.
Or trouble will be
Always with you
All your livelong days.”

Months had passed since Bill came back never from the sea
But that day drew nearer, the day they met, their anniversary.
The clock struck midnight, it was now the day they had met,
And she experienced something magical she would not soon forget.
She had closed her eyes and fallen fast asleep
But she was wakened by her lover's gentle kiss upon her cheek.
She opened her eyes and saw a heavenly sight:
He went to help her but she jumped up and grabbed him with all her might
"The angels" he said "They granted me a wish, you see"
"And I wished for one more night, one more, for you and me."
They talked and talked, looked into each others eyes, and never thought of rest.
They held each other and kissed, and did what lovers do best.
They ended the night with a dance under the moonlit sky.
She cried as she danced because she knew it was almost time for goodbye
The sun rose as tears streamed down her cheek, from those eyes of blue
As he faded in the morning sunlight, he whispered "Never forget."
"Forget what?" she cried. he finished...
"I Love You"

© 2002 Ash Rosenberg

"Ash Rosenberg" was born in an experiment on a message board whereby a poem was started by one person and continued by the others as the inspiration struck. Posters resident in Sydney, Chicago, London, Brisbane, and Melbourne contributed. No rules were set in terms of content or form. The result is before you.

p>Find more by Iain Muir in the Author Index.

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