Its been four years since
I saw the adult man shriek and weep
over the freshly dead body
of a small dog in the street,
now stained with a trickle of blood.
Four years later I return
to Café Manuela
under different circumstances.
The waiter comes over and I order my usual:
freshly squeezed please
orange, carrot, ginger
naranja, zanahoria, jengimbre
which comes with a straw
its two usual ice cubes
and I remember.
The waiter brings me a plate of mixed nuts,
crunchy corn and bits of chocolate
and I remember
I only used to eat the corn
so I do that again
despite my temptation for peanuts.
To call the feeling in my chest nostalgia
would be a cheapening
but perhaps accurate description
for the shear delight I took
in my Proustian moment.
I am grateful to the world that not much
has changed at Café Manuela
other than the wait staff.
The chairs are the same,
the white marble tables have remained
(I sit in my usual spot)
the meta paintings of people playing cards
and drinking at Café Manuela still hang
in crammed spaces on the walls.
I think of everyone I have been with
here four summers ago,
as I eat the peanuts,
one by one.