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 the 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 cafe

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