Server Ballet

a lone glass
caught in its trapeze act
no one to catch
revealing the departed partner
in its pendulum sway

waves fatigued to
the Louis-quatorzian carrousel
of bodies, words, trays
ready to tire witnesses digesting

waiters suited
waitresses in tie, vest,
voluminous low apron
barmaid in slinky under the black

cross, connect, cry out
(discreetly still)
waltzing as if to Berlioz

the white wine
the red wine
the yellow wine

the full plates
the plates attacked but left
the empty plates

as strange saxophones
belling half-slices of lemon
wait to begin their quartet

glasses in battalions
on maneuvers
march over the bar
along with the call of
the head waiter
as he smoothes his tie –
“Bella! Un cappuccino!”

the thought as prompt:
“Vero, que bella.”

Maude Larke has come back to her own writing after working in the American, English and French university systems, analyzing others’ texts and films. Winner of the 2011 PhatSalmon Poetry Prize and the 2012 Swale Life Poetry Competition, she has been published in Oberon, Naugatuck River Review, and Cyclamens and Swords, among others.