Marriage Proposal at Age 96 – by Shoshauna Shy

This poem was chosen for a musical response by Featured Musician Kelsey Wells

Marriage Proposal at Age 96

They're joy-riding again –
my mother-in-law and the man across
the hall whom she met in widowhood
at the Angel Park potluck.
Daughters forbid she drive her Buick
but he still has his, and she tells him
when it's safe to accelerate
through the yellow before it goes red.
They picnic by rivers and on Evergreen
Island if there's a table in the shade.
As if his were a 50's Skylark
with fins and dog dish hubcaps,
her cardigan buttoned like a cape,
curls streaming backwards.
As if he wore jeans and Winklepickers,
pack of Lucky Strikes rolled at his bicep.
It's a pandemic summer slick with Purell,
but the wind washes them both clean.
That rosebush they brought to our patio
blooms beyond the season's first frost.

Author of The Splash of Easy Laughter and four other poetry collections, two of which won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, Shoshauna Shy's poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies, journals and magazines, and even on the hind quarters of city buses. She has work forthcoming courtesy of Naugatuck River Review, Montana Mouthful and Sunlight Press. Shoshauna’s day job is with the Wisconsin Humanities, where she helped create, coordinate and facilitate poetry programs for the annual Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison for a decade. She is also a flash fiction author— but that's another story!

Art: "Rose Garden" by Sandy Coomer - 6X6, acrylic pour on wood panel
Statement: I loved the vibrancy of this poem, the life force of the characters. I chose a piece of art that was vibrant but also had the spiral  symbol of magic, art, and dance. One might also see the unfolding petals of a rose.

Music: "Sassafras Waltz" by Kelsey Wells
Statement: One of my favorite childhood book characters is Eloise (from the series by Kay Thompson). She has so much spunk, I can easily imagine her going for a picnic and backseat driving when she’s nearly 100! And waltzing in the park, too! The skippiness of the B part of this tune describes her personality to me.