The Last Performance

Quivering candles melt in drips
down burnished silver candlesticks.
From glinting crystal, fluted lips
imbibe their wine with eager sips.

Assembled dinner party guests
in front row seats at their request.
Each one, dressed in party best,
anticipates a grand gabfest.

By carefully-planned complicity,
observing every nicety,
the players’ deft duplicity
apes blissful domesticity.

Abettors in the said collusion,
tasty dishes in profusion
validate the grand illusion,
adding to the guests’ delusion.

Each cognac-fuelled rave review
drifts back down the avenue
as guests leave, bidding fond adieux,
the evening’s end long overdue.

The room that lacks an audience
has lost its cosy ambience:
an empty stage that waits in silence,
ready for the next performance.

The actors wipe away all traces
of greasepaint smiles from tired faces.
No more need for airs and graces,
corsets, braces, tight shoelaces.