I must remember, when I’m dead


I must remember, when I’m dead
to stop off at the Bar Playa
to wait for my sweetie.
Or maybe she’ll be waiting for me, instead,
with Manolo standing to the side
checking his watch,
tapping his foot,
putting off his own eternity
so he can once again bring us
café con leche, el doble
and two slices of strangely durable toast.
We can sit at the table on
opposite sides, holding hands
and staring across the Bay of Cadiz
to Africa, to Morocco, to Eden.
“Will you play again tonight at the Red Lion?”
Manolo asks, eyes glinting, cat slitted.
He moves gracefully in his old dark suit
humble service with a knife in his sleeve.
“Old friends will be there,” he threatens,
“ringed men and languid women
who are not afraid to sing and dance,
gypsies who see the future
and can not stop laughing.”
I look at my girl and say,
“What do you think? We’ll miss heaven.”
She squeezes my hand and answers, “No, we won’t.”

—Don Whittington



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