Ristorante Italiano

24102009027 (2)A corner in Paris on a cold rainy night,

the wooden sign creaked in the wind.

A street deserted except for a car

that sliced over the wet cobblestone.

Icy wind rose clouding the windows with frost

and the corner door creaked wearily.

At this crossing in Paris an old man moved slowly

his thoughts lost among young memories.

Under the door spread a yellowish glow

mirrored by his two passing steps.

He paused for a moment and looked at the sign,

Ristorante Italiano.

The old man heard laughter and music

to the clicking of china, a rhyme mellowed in time.

Warmth from fried garlic and freshly baked bread

coated the frosty window with steam

and though weathered and weary,

he stepped to the glass and rubbed a view with his sleeve.

On each table small glasses half filled with chartreuse

carried him back to a long ago scene.

The surprise was perceivable, his grey eyes reflecting

ghostly figures coming out of the past.

For in a dimly lit corner and across from each other,

two young lovers sat.

A pink rose separated them like a wall,

their glasses of chartreuse were untouched.

She sat rigid and straight with a motionless face

while he wriggled and squirmed in his place.

She ordered black coffee, no sugar or cream; he a napoleon.

Words flew past her tightly clinched fists as

he fondled the petal with one buttery hand and

counted four spoonfuls of sugar with the other.

His chatter conveyed words steeped in sweet cordials,

her anger voiced was only a whisper for

she knew she made the wrong choice.

At this corner in Paris an old man stood lonely,

his thoughts lost among young memories.

He shifted and sighed and turned from the sign,

Ristorante Italiano.

-Lesley Lababidi

(Paris, 2000 , all rights reserved)To copy or re-produce photography and/or writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.

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