Behind a tangle of bushes and impenetrable wood,
paint peeling from its walls in strips, the ancient mansion stood.
A blemish on our neighborhood, the property condemned.
By its neighbors’ pristine hedges, its boundaries were hemmed
like burnsides on each side of an unruly mustache.
And no amount of pressure and no amount of cash
could persuade the one who lived there—a widow old and frail
to repair her ravaged property or put it up for sale.
And though neighbors voiced their protests, she challenged one and all
simply by remaining behind her crumbling wall.
At night, thin wispy music from her gramophone
leaked out through the bushes as she danced on all alone
over creaking floorboards, reliving bygone days
and a life once vivid now diminished to a haze.
Reenacting dramas of a life gone by too fast,
she played the heroine while other roles all went uncast.