The old men all play sixty-six
Humming bars of that old song
About all the things you could get to eat in Romania
While they chew on assorted stale pastries
(“we all had worse during the war.”)
Dealing out hands with the same beat up decks
That they used on the old Odessa trains
Only now they sit in the corner of the little damp café
Across the street from a brown leaf cemetery
That quietly reminds them of home.
They sip black coffee
And barely say a word.
One day I’ll be the sort of old man who remembers holidays
That felt like winter
And tasted like warm harvest spice
I’ll grow my hair as wild as it can grow
And I’ll have a coat just like that one, there
And a scarf like that one, only red or brown.
When I go for walked I’ll mutter silly curses at God on the steep hills
(“old codger, filled his world with roads like this one!”)
and when I get to the top I’ll shake my cane and say “ha!”
In the summer I will sleep all day
And spend every night in a little damp café.
I’ll pretend that I spoke Russian when I was a little boy
While I sip black coffee
And chew on assorted stale pastries.
We all had worse during the war.