Early Diner

Lines of foreign faces
weave and pirouette past,
mostly polite.
Each sail set for unknown places,
merging quickly with the twilight.

Further down the street
fairy lights blink shyly over a door.
Early Bird meals 25% off.
Glance around as if unsure,
then claim a place by the fire.

Tables tessellated thoughtfully;
cutlery, condiments and chairs.
Background music plays to no one.
In a corner beside the stairs
someone chalks a menu board.

Nearby flames snap
and sway mamba-like,
hissing threats at the cold.
Responding in his own time
the waiter bends upright
and saunters over.

Sitting alone,
a world away from home,
comfort comes in small things:
kitchen chat; food smells.
Hints of other lives
never known.

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