by Neil McCarthy

for Valerie Melichar

Green cloths clear of billiard balls, sterile

as morgue tables at night —

we could be those rogue agents breaking

in to perform the secret second autopsy

to find out the true cause of death.

This café died in the seventies, its

ghosts keeping watch to ensure no changes;

their favoured tables safeguarded

with a Reserviert card

to ward off the living.

The dieners with their silver trays announce

coffee and krügels to the gumshoes amongst us;

we do little more than nod — keep

our words to a minimum,

so as not to blow our cover.