TURNING

You ate cherries in brandy

and couldn’t stop laughing.

The regulars at the bar,

the old waiter carrying schnapps,

the violinist stroking Vivaldi,

the gods in the fountain,

everyone and everything

seemed soft,

brushed with a shimmering

from the tops of trees,

gesturing slow motion:

leaves to the sun.

Then sunlight sped.

Shadows on the cobblestones

drew a hypotenuse.

One couple left, and two more.

I craved another gin,

but they folded umbrellas

and you looked away,

smoothing your hair

under the brim of an oval hat.

“It’s getting cold,” I said,

for nothing else to say.

I must have seen you again

but I don’t remember anything you said,

just your postcard

from somewhere in Spain

reminding me how we left the café

through the wrought iron gate,

stood hand in hand on the corner.

We didn’t want to leave,

me to my office,

you to your house,

to your husband.

We wanted to stand there forever

in the happy confusion

of an October afternoon.

The driver of a hansom

waved at us with a folded whip,

cracked it near the horse’s shoulder

and rumbled past,

the spoked wheels turning,

turning fast.

 

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