“Pauli’s at the End” by Allen Berry

On the last night of the world,
we dress in our finest.
She wears a little black dress,
I a dinner jacket, tuxedo shirt
open at the throat.

At Pauli’s on the square,
we toast life and love, and
what the impeccably dressed
waiter calls ‘the coming great
adventure!’

The consummate professional,
he declines to join us, his last customers
but laughs appreciatively when we tell him
add a substantial number of zeros to the tip.

Later, when the owner and his wife
invite us to the roof for Tiramisu
that explodes joyously on our tongues,
this same waiter says how fortunate
that it will be night on our side of the world,

“the show,” he says “will be spectacular!”

Down in the streets below,
the sirens have stopped,
there is a peaceful silence
broken gradually by a lone voice
singing Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind”

As the sky begins to glow,
the stars blink out one by one
the moon turns red and disappears
she kisses my neck, and whispers
“Forever,”

I can’t help but go out laughing.


Allen Berry’s work has appeared in The American Muse Magazine, What Remembers Us, an anthology of Alabama Poets, and Birmingham Arts Journal. In 2001, he founded the Limestone Dust Poetry Festival in Huntsville Alabama, and served as festival president until 2007. He is currently enrolled in the PhD program at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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