Miguel Seco walked into Café Cervantes
and slapped a fat coin on the mahogany bar.
Staring each patron in the eye, he announced,
“This gold goes to the one whose poem pleases me most.”
A hush fell as we all looked around.
A young woman rose.
She told of bitter-sweet adolescent love lost.
With kindness in his eyes,
Miguel shook his head.
The newcomer confidently quoted a trite ditty.
He beat hasty retreat
as if Miguel’s look could kill.
The town fool belched a limerick that won only a wan smile.
After some silence,
an old man stood straight and
spoke of youth as a gift
unappreciated until gone forever.
We stared into our cups, some sobbing.
Tossing the coin to the old man,
Miguel said, “Otre vez, por favor. Otre vez, Señor.”
[Café Cervantes is on the plaza in Poetica. It's always open mike and most hours are happy.]