This poem is taken from Stand 216, 15(4) December 2017 - February 2018.

James Davey Two Poems
How to Take a Coffee Sicilia

Vorrei un caffe’, I proclaim in perfect phrase-book Italian  
to the bartender at a roadside chiosco  
just a wrong turn or two from the main shopping street.  

A knot of lads in box-fresh trainers
halt their card game.  

One of them makes a joke. They laugh.  
È uno scherzo, uno scherzo, he protests,  
it’s a joke, a joke.  

Reaching for his coffee, he spots a trembling dog  
sniffing the plastic espresso cups   
that cover the ground like severed flower heads.

Cane sporco! he spits – disgusting dog! –  
and punts it full-force in the ribs.

I focus on the coffee machine's hiss.
Cazzo − è uno scherzo, uno scherzo!
I’d said I’d be back in fifteen minutes.   
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