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.