BARBARA JOAN SCHAFFER-In A Restaurant

IN A RESTAURANT

In Guatemala, in Panajachal:
The waiters are holding up the wall.
Saturday night, as good as it gets,
and half the tables are not full;
someone’s just left without paying the bill.
Meanwhile, across the sea, some time ago,
David, the cook, drinks absenta
from the fishermen’s bar down the alley
I bring him for a taste of his sauces
and what is left on the plates
of gigot and florentine steaks.
Leo the waiter at El Olivo
brings home half-full bottles of Rioja
and Tonia rolls tobacco and kif
with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on the victrola.
Fortunately, we had the grace
to disappear without a trace,
and I’m as young as ever I was
wherever they are looking back.

Barbara Joan Schaffer

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