Authors Note: S/o to Christine for helping me write my first Sestina for class, and generally reassuring me that my writing doesn’t suck. Hope you enjoy our self-indulgent trip down memory lane!
She always imagined it would be a twisted brass key
Unlocking the world of clinking glasses and a coaster
To greet you. That crazy Irish pub tucked away where
Travelers find repose in an Eternal City. Three or four
Wander in for a pint, a shot, and Green Spot on the rocks,
Yet through the spinning room her eyes stop short on Lee.
Stuck behind the bar slinging drinks and Irish charm faithfully,
He could make you believe one more shot of Jamison holds the key
To escaping this mess of spilled drinks and Frat boys promising to rock
Your world. But salvation is found in the strangest places, like a coaster
Flying through the air with a message and a grin, an eager summons for
A cigarette break taken out back, hidden in a peaceful alley where
His friends joke “I know American girls don’t like to smoke where
People can see them,” but she laughs and grabs his pack eagerly.
Too soon they’re interrupted by barbacks looking for
Someone, anyone to pour a beer, and needing the key
To the top shelf. A drink gets left behind on a stray coaster
Resting on a window sill, waiting for the next group to rock
And sway dizzily against this pub’s foundation rocks.
Closing down, she waits for him at an empty bar where
Desperate for an occupation her fingers fumble with coasters
Stacked to the side, until she hears the final “Goodnight, Lee”
And sees him lock the large oak doors with a forceful twist of the key,
Their real night finally beginning at half past four.
Spilling out onto cobblestoned streets, they head for
The land of Trevi, an impressive combination of rocks
And water, deserted at this time other than the smokey
Air breathed out by lads stumbling anywhere
Still serving up another pint, but Lee and his girl rest contently
Listening to fountain water rush upon a marble coast. Her
Hands search for warmth inside his pocket, but find the coaster
Instead with his inviting message scrawled on the back and before
The sky can lighten anymore, they toss the token together blindly,
Praying that it lands in wish-fulfilling waters, a drunken shamrock
Flying through the air as he begins to spin her, blissfully unaware
Of where it lands, choosing instead to take her hand and feeling lucky.
Next morning before the sun rises on that wild rock,
A police boot kicks the Murphy’s coaster left lying where
The night trailed off hazily, a streaming song of whiskey.