I ate something warm & chocolate
at the cafe overlooking the river.
Gisella brought the sugar & spoon
& wiped the pastry flakes into her hand.
At night, Rikard plays the piano
against a backdrop of Chinese lanterns
strung between lampposts.
He takes requests from the crystal bowl.
Vencel, my chess & cognac partner,
refills the wooden bowl in the arms
sitting Buddha with bright orange mints
a box behind the bar.
* * *
As Vencel closes,
I take a handful of mints
& wait near the steps at the side of the cafe
leading to the cobblestone path
running along the river.
I look at the smiling Buddha
& his bowl of luminous mints
& the chess board, the white spaces
gleaming in the moonlight.
My pawns holding their positions
my Queen & remaining knight providing cover,
my underrated bishop
poised to strike.