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A Little Italian Place

In our hearts we all have
a little Italian place
where Luigi ushers us
to our favourite corner table
with murals of grapes
on the ochre walls
and perhaps photos of celebrities
that few have ever heard of
and which anyway can't be seen
as the only light comes from a candle
in a raffia-clad chianti bottle
making a halo where we sit
like two saints.

Here love is simply to be enjoyed
and not argued over,
especially when there are more
important matters to debate
like whether to have
the Tagliatelli or Linguine,
the Valpolicella or Pinot Grigio,
before the world fades
beyond the candle's glow,
the shining eyes, the whispers,
the gentle touch of fingers.
It would seem churlish,
rude and impudent
to let even one cross word
form on a curling lip,
for if that ever happened
it seems the waiters
would tumble backwards
in astonishment, tripping
over tables as they slid apart
and the walls retreated
into the distance - it would
now be a very large place.

But not tonight. No, tonight
we've tasted zabaglione
as simply sweet as first love,
we've been cossetted
in the cradle of the candle's glow,
then helped into coats
and out into the night air,
leaving Luigi, the mustacheode
ringmaster of romance,
to clear our table and make
it ready for whoever comes next -
he straightens the pair of chairs
spreads out a new tablecloth,
crisp and white, and places
in the centre a candle
and a vase with a single red rose.

 

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