All Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations will be closed on Monday, September 1.
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drape the parlour with black lace
and re-cover the finely wrought chairs with dusky velvet
     (much better than those frayed seats gone to seed)

fling open the heavy curtains just to dust the sill
and close them quickly, quickly before the sun rises
    (complexions are better pale)

coat the walls with plum damask
dark dismal designs writhing and curving down the surface
burning and etching patterns around the room
    (snuff out the candle, too)

put the opera glasses back on the mantel
    (won't be needing them to-night)
the monocle as well
for he won't read anyway

laugh quietly at the books so carefully ordered on the shelf
    (no, don't laugh, it's not suitable)
fat spines stamped with gilded titles long enough to read straight across
nothing like those thin penny dreadfuls wedged between the bedframe

leave the roses to wilt and droop in their vase
    (because it better suits the room and her mood)
let the shriveled petals flutter to the tabletop
and into the now-empty teacups

serve the wine

smile

swallow the sweet heady opulence
and just breathe