Michael Hofmann - FIDELITY

for James, again

At the old Tramontana
on Tottenham Court Road
among the hi-fi shops
I learned to order

what you ordered,
lot student noodles
but sophisticated things
like the special.

After years of our
Playing at lunch,
the old waiter shook himself
to death with Parkinson’s

practically before our eyes.
(I remember the rattle
and slop of one last
saucerful of coffee.)

One afternoon,
when we no longer went there
like Hem to the War,
I saw Joseph Brodsky

sitting in the window
with paper and a cigarette,
the recording angel,
miles away.