All is well. As the pundits predicted
over night she turned sixty.
The napkins have reported for duty.
The wine is unremarkable;
but the duck good;
the apple tree by the window
doing exactly what’s expected of it,
when her brother-in-law quips:
he thought by now she’d be in Stockholm
turning down the Nobel Prize.

The wine glasses stop moving.
Cousin Basil’s bow-tie eyes the exit.
The apple tree doesn’t know
where to put its face. The poetess
looks as if she’s about to grab
her best tweed hat,
and hurry off to address
a mass-meeting of teamsters,

to reassure the brethren
that she will not rest
until the last postmodernist
has been dispatched to a bone meal factory
the other side of Mullingar;

and when she’s finished
be carried shoulder high
by the horn-honking brothers of Local 319
as she leads them in the chant:
“Things as they are! Things as they are!”