death in the afternoon

Montparnasse
sits in silence
as Hemingway scribbles
alone at Le Dôme Café.

On our fourth glass
of mother’s milk
he coughs

and in an expansive arc
his cigar 
inscribes a trail 
describing
the broken barricades
before us,
as we watch 
the green fairy dancing
Dom Perignon
along the Left Bank.

We hear the bells toll

but nobody questions 
for whom.


© 2020 Joshua J. Smith

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Author’s Note

Death in the Afternoon, also called the Hemingway or the Hemingway Champagne, is a cocktail made up of Absinthe (the green fairy) and Champagne, invented by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s original instructions were: “Pour one jigger Absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.” 

The Park
Calico Jack