Infinite Sorrow

I have been to Rome many times,
though not for some years.

I went to see an old lady in Balduina,
overlooking St Peter’s.

I saw little of the city, however,
spending much time in the kitchen,
listening to her talk
as she prepared the evening meal.

How she could talk.

“Sonny,” she would say,
“in your life you have suffered greatly.
But I have suffered infinitely.”

She cooked the best veal
I have ever eaten.

Infinite sorrow can taste pretty good.

the restaurant

table 1: a table for two

somewhere
in some far-off
corner of the earth
upon a broad green leaf
a butterfly is emerging
from the chrysalis
a glory to the world
dazzling wild
free
and that
is how it feels
to enter a crowded
restaurant – find you
at a table reading
and see there is
an empty chair
for me

table 2: a separate table

you ignored me last night
I’m ignoring you today

I’m at a separate table
a thousand miles away

shall we order?

table 3: ready to order

I won’t have a starter
I don’t eat dessert
I shan’t have a mains
I hurt hurt hurt
I can’t take rejection
but I can take a hint
just bring another bottle
and a wafer thin mint

table 4: menu

today
a stranger wore my shoes
choked down the morning news
ordered the wrong food
alone at a table for two

but it was me
who chatted to you so freely
over the menu
and died a little more
before the coffee

table 5: two types of silence

I sit alone at dinner
listening to the couple
at the next table
who hardly speak at all

you clear your throat
ask me to get the bill

there are as many
different types of silence
as there are colours
on a paint chart

probably more

here are two

table 6: table talk

two apples in a bowl
got us wondering
how we’d go

between two breaths
between two tides
before the pudding
has arrived

we were chatting
over dinner

you said
I was looking thinner

I said
rotten talk for supper
on the garden I’ll be scattered

if I have a soul at all
it falls just as the apple falls

to ground

we drank our fill
I paid the bill

a silent walk

table talk