“What can I get you today?” The flower shop clerk asked the old man, as he seemed unable to find what he was looking for. He looked back at her and pulled out an old piece of paper. He pantomimed wanting her to read it, so she took it from him.
The paper was a copy of a familiar love poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
After she read it, she smiled at the man, and handed it back. She could see a sort of pleading in his eyes, possibly wanting a suggestion for choice of flower. She took his arm and guided him to the fresh bouquets made that morning. She picked up an old fashioned bunch of wildflowers, sweet smelling. He smiled and nodded.
It was the sixtieth anniversary for the man and his wife. He had stopped to buy her something special on his way to the nursing home.
**Sonnet 43 was first published in 1850 as part of “The Sonnets of the Portuguese”.