I am not Italian, technically speaking,
yet here I am leaning on a zinc bar in Florence
on a sunny weekday morning,
my foot up on the smooth iron railing
just like the other men, who,
it must be said, are officially and fully Italian.

It’s 8:40 and they are off to work,
some in offices, others sweeping the streets,
while I am off to a museum or a church
to see paintings, maybe light a candle in an alcove.
Yet here we all are in our suits and work shirts
joined in the brotherhood of espresso,

or how is it said? La fratellanza dell’espresso,
draining our little white cups
with a quick flourish of the wrist,
each of us tasting the same sweetness of life,
if you take a little sugar, and the bitterness
of its brevity, whether you choose to take sugar or not.