Balthazar's Feast In Upper Manhattan
Our seventh date spills out, glorious!
We will dine with all New York
dashed against the sky,
eat big amidst the ambience
of signed Klee lithographs
and sit in chairs big as racing boats.
A school of little fish crudi with a sip
Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru for you,
crudos spoken to in arctic char and tipped
with enoki mushrooms, daikon sprouts
adding green luster to the bone China plate.
A julienned apple appears, you hold a fruit
quarter on your tongue, wait for the fade-in
of balsamic vinaigrette, unrehearsed
like first light fractured on a Vermont pond.
For me tabs of langoustine tail calibered
with gin, skewered on a gold needle
wrapped with fluke the size of passport photos.
The wasp sting of the diamond Almas caviar.
We share thimble sized appetizers, a dropp
of sturgeon, crème fraîche sauce, I’m told,
soupy burrata I could almost chew nestled
by white polenta, fine as the minute hand
of a watch and a matched pair of scallops
artfully scored on their surface to resemble
blooming flowers in a Saracen yard.
We glow, our eyes many candle-powers strong.
A dish of soft, crispy-edged skate wing flavored
with pine-nut flour and saffron, unlike your skate
Bucatini with the long narrow tubes of pasta
that seemed so suggestive when you cooked once
from scratch. We feel delirious.
“Your mouth, a school ribbon forgotten on snow.”
A black woman at the next table looks over,
ain’t I a woman too? ”
Ah, your face the Bay of Guinea,
your mouth the Sahel russet at dawn.
Still laughing outside, we all share a cab
downtown to Bobby Short, alive then,
at the Carlyle.
The bill, even now, only half-settled.