wears a scrolled name and number
unsolicited and unexpected
staring from beside the ashtray.
Ingrid Bergman begs Sam, a suited Negro
to play "As Time Goes By" on his piano
despite Rick's rule.
Mouthfuls of Spanish red
wash over a scrap of salty venison
stuck between two teeth.
The pipes and the personalities
are waiting for that grin
they'll see approaching them tomorrow.
A cork swindled from the last bottle shared
sits on a bookshelf as a reminder:
People need to make their own mistakes
but it ain't so bad.
There's the kid.
There's always the kid.
That cocktail napkin
finds its way to the trash can
where it will wait for the rest
of what's irrelevant
and the wine tastes more expensive
than its label claimed.