May 5, 1994

GOLD STREET in San Francisco, shades of old miners weighing out pokes of hardscrabble dust, maybe sending something to loved ones Back East. A letter promising reunion as soon as they've made their strike. Soft rain turning the narrow street black and shiny, lamplight muted. We turn into a high-ceilinged bar, big doors wide open to the street, a black woman playing the piano and murmuring standards. My companions select cigars from the presented humidor. I haven't smoked in ten years. I wish I could sip tobacco, watch the blue haze dissolve into dreams, but I can't. It's been too long. We talk of everything but what is in my heart.




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