Inner Harbor

Rebecca arrived with a wave of
librarians. Out of the conference
she earmarked time for us, for
dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s.

I like saying the name, but
we chose it for convenience –
20 feet from the lobby, down a dark hall
through a door with a porthole, connoting seafood –

convenience  and a gift certificate
from Rebecca’s hotel.
$25 is a nice reduction
at the end of two working girls’ work days.

A table with a view of the harbor,
cast in the sparkles of evening sunlight
off dark water, churned by propellers
of boat taxis and Black-Eyed Susan’s paddle wheel.

Shades of Dixieland, the war still waged:
Was Maryland North or South?

The city’s walking trail rounded the point
under a canopy of spring’s first green,
relief to a businessman flinging a Frisbee
to his young black Lab,

the dog retrieving, his master’s tie
flapping with exuberance –
a day’s moment of freedom
in a world of someone else’s time.

Two old friends, not yet old, catching up
on news old and new: what are you reading?
how is the family? how’s the new job?
(It’s a job.), over tilapia and scallops.

We paid the bill, less the $25,
plus tax and tip, including the $25
– writers doing math – and hugged goodbye
by the landlocked door with a porthole.

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