It wasn’t that toothless, lecherous old goat in Rome
with the wheezy accordion, who seemed to only serenade
and who tried to steal kisses from pretty girls. It was back
in Ohio, our usual haunt in the blackest booth. I couldn’t
read the damn menu. We just sat for our anniversary,
an empty table, no pasta, no lighted candle, no romance yet.
Where was the bread and olive oil? Like a familiar, reliable
engine, our chitchat idled: our day, our kids, reminiscing
about our wedding, you reshuffling our guest list again after
twenty-eight years. A firefly came blinking, serenading
in slow, glowing pulses. Thinking it was a spider, menacing
ninja repelled from the ceiling, I brushed it from your shoulder—
so gallant! but with immediate regret as we ordered;
I sought it out and there it flew, crooning for another couple.

Daniel David is a writer, artist and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America.  He is a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award grant recipient for poetry. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, in Canada and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.