The Café

outside at the sunny café:
a becalmed regatta.
Tall, indolent palm trees
topped with shuttlecock feathers.
Breast-pocket balconies
up to roof level
on three sides of the square:
stage-set for an operetta, viewed from the sea.
In the middle, a fountain,
too grand to have been turned on.
Yelps and clatter
of shop-blinds raised
for mid-morning trade.
Motor traffic
snarling and tooting elsewhere.
I watch you tear
your breakfast croissant,
then dress its fresh wound with butter.
The mouth I devoured
with kisses last night
has private business right now,
as does my own.
That’s you, this is me.
A flake of pastry has strayed
to your upper lip.
My coffee tastes pleasantly bitter.

The Conversation

Out of her sleep, out of a dream perhaps,
with her back turned, but plainly addressing him,
she muttered a few words: semantic scraps,
random, loose and light as blown litter,
forming a sort of sentence, or sketch of a sentence –
scarcely more than that. After a short pause,
from his own, undisturbed sleep,
he answered in a similar mutter,
just as inconsequentially and sparsely.
The conversation – burble, burble – ended there.
If anyone else had happened to be in that room
that night, standing by the bed and leaning
close enough to overhear, think what terrific
secrets they might have learned
from verbal traffic so slight,
so empty of sense, but so full of meaning.

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