Thursday Poem

Campari and Smoke Rings

In the side street bar,

below the church of St. Catherine,

the drinks are cheap and the music loud.

Girls in tight jeans lean into young men

who might be Zepharelli extras

with their dark halos of curls.

It’s easy sitting here, with my glass

of rough red, watching them laugh

and flirt as the evening gathers

in among the Campari and neon,

to imagine my life just like theirs;

mirrored infinitely

in the bar’s smeared glass.

Yet when I look back

through the fug of smoke rings,

down the dark alley

the way I just came, I realise

that around the next bend

there’s no unknown room

filled with the scent of crushed roses,

where muslin curtains lift

on the evening breeze and clouds

of swallows circle and circle

under the eaves in the growing dark.

by Sue Hubbard