The castor-wheeled cake stand in La Cascata
hybrid pool table / jukebox / pastry conservatory
sits by the wall watching us all.
Portuguese dialect ripples across the tables
the young men
swagger-smoke their machismo
the women talk
knowingly, nodding, repeating, insistent,
open palm reinforcing the wisdom, today’s truth.
My drained, stained Camelo expresso
could get refilled all day.
I devour the reactions,
relish the beauty of brown eyes
that flicker their pre-lunch ritual acknowledgment
as another steps in from the street.
The slow ballad soars on the hi-fi,
vies with the families’ July voices
and the coffee machine’s urgent noontime shooosh.