There were soft Vienna mornings, you’ll recall,
when Franz Joseph took his frothy kaffe along
Linzer Landstrasse, the wagging wafts of
conversation interdigitating with politics.
And there were plenty of garnishes: the swim
of cinnamon through dewy milk, the problem
of Napoleon’s exile, the flake of a perfect
palmier, and oh yes, that fevered debate in
Paris the day before last on (what was it?)
social industrialism and the latest fashion in frills.
Stretching on pressed fabric chaise-lounges,
the towering ornates of gilded Courbets around us,
and yes, please, another demi-tasse and the Journal—
how is your father? he would ask—because it was
only five before noon, and there was too much
left of the world to stop drinking.