Café Roma

How many years since we ate here – nine, ten?

We called it the smoky café before the ban,

took the kids upstairs for pasta each time

they stayed with us. Now they wake inside

their lives, miles away, and we (who feared

this place had shut) share pizza on our return:

olives dotted over cheese, as if minutes are

mushrooms, aubergines like cities we love.

Sure, the manageress behind the bar

has a subtle map of lines across her face,

though her hair-dye is red as history.

The leaning tower fades on the wall

above our forks. We’re old, not wise,

savouring chips with mayo, crusts and wine.