It’s nice here on the shady side of the street.
Our small, outdoor table
Faces a building
Golden with late afternoon sunlight
Under a cloudless summer sky.
Together with daily horrors,
Life doles out these small pleasures:
A platter of raw oysters on ice,
A ripe lemon sliced in half,
And a glass of chilled white wine.
If the couple holding hands at the next table
Are now in a hurry to leave,
Let them go ahead.
We’ll linger over another bottle
And then go looking for a bed ourselves.
Charles Simic (1938–2023) was a poet, essayist, translator, and editor. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1954 and began publishing English-language poems in 1959. He received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, was a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, and served as poet laureate of the United States from 2007 to 2008.