The dining room echoes, so few of you here now.
It’s barely half past ten. There’s just one family
next door in the TV and games room,
a single child here, doted on
by parents, grandmother
and an over-attentive waiter who dances with her.
It’s music night again, with the repertoire stretched
rambling and blending roses, my way,
you were always on my mind,
karaoke lyrics, a cod American drawl…
Just after the fly-swatting, that fearsome woman
bent on extermination, who made cutlery shudder,
shake, rattle and roll on several tables,
just before the tour party returned with brochures,
day-sacks, canvas bags, cameras,
and angry reddened skin,
and just after the tabby-and-white kitten, lonesome
tonight and always, tolerated in the gardens,
not allowed indoors for reasons, perhaps, such as this,
jumped into a large blue glazed pot, prepared his spot,
earth flying, defecated neatly then dug, scrabbled, buried
the evidence except, of course, its pungent aroma,
leapt down and away between tables
to gales of Western laughter,
our musicians switched to French, ignoring
our merriment, mostly playing sad songs
we couldn’t quite place.
But these two, our minstrels, seemed now more at ease
than in their set of transatlantic standards.
You left them crossing continents,
felt watched by countless feline eyes,
in night time camouflage,
as you crossed the courtyard to your cool, dark room.