Crisp and clear it was that day
befitting Roman January
strolling down the Spanish steps
to buy the International Tribune.
Planned a quiet morning out
to share a moment with the gods
a coffee and the Sunday post
to sit where young Lord Byron sat.
Off to ancient Caffé Greco
most formal Roman coffee house
a piano that Rossini played
where Goethe scribbled poetry.
Waiters in their black and white
museum art adorning walls
where D’Annunzio the Fascist sipped
with ghosts of Wagner, Ibsen, Mendelssohn.
Hot chocolate is the morning choice
with whipped cream on the side I think
“Cioccolato caldo piacere”
“Si signore, molto bene!”
Quietly I read the paper
nursing my hot chocolate
wondering if Stendahl sat
writing in this very spot.
Pretty artist in the corner
with pencil she is drawing me
sketching while I read my paper
smiling as I catch her eye.
Maybe one day she’ll be famous
my likeness in a gallery
perhaps I’ll offer her a chocolate
after all she smiled at me.