This poem is part of a series I wrote while on a break on the Costa del Sol. The tapas bar in question was in Benalmadena Puerto but has now closed.
The chalked sign reads Comida casera –
Home cooking – except, disappointed,
One Spanish customer has angrily obliterated
That choice word casera.
Steel trays, neat and stainless,
Top the bar in a cool cabinet
Parading their wares like babies in an incubator
Podgy meatballs dripping in oil,
Melting chicken, wasted peppers.
Diners greedily eye the offerings
Ordering with a stab of the finger
Return to a stool to sit out the time
Until a waitress brings the slaughter.
Sharp eyes, pleased, rove over the carnage
The uneven teeth and fuller lips
Closing round the succulent mortals
Squeezing dry the flowing juices
All washed down with a beer or rioja.
Till replete, the eye now duller
The fat mouth red as blood from the sauces
Overweight hands wipe evidence inaccurately
Leaving tell-tale stains to adorn the napkins.
The odd burp, a furtive toothpick
And off into the night we stutter