East India Grill Villanelle by Cecilia Woloch
Across the table, Bridget sneaks a smile;
she's caught me staring past her at the man
who brings us curried dishes, hot and mild.
His eyes are blue, intensely blue, hot sky;
his hair, dark gold; his skin like cinnamon.
He speaks in quick-soft accents; Bridget smiles.
We've come here in our summer skirts, heels high,
to feast on fish and spices, garlic naan,
bare-legged in the night air, hot and mild.
And then to linger late by candlelight
in plain view of the waiter where he stands
and watches from the doorway, sneaks a smile.
I'd dress in cool silks if I were his wife.
We try to glimpse his hands — no wedding band?
The weather in his eyes is hot and mild.
He sends a dish of mango-flavored ice
with two spoons, which is sweet; I throw a glance
across the shady patio and smile.
But this can't go on forever, or all night
— or could it? Some eternal restaurant
of longing not quite sated, hot and mild.
And longing is delicious, Bridget sighs;
the waiter bows; I offer him my hand.
His eyes are Hindu blue and when he smiles
I taste the way he'd kiss me, hot and mild.
(from the collection Late)