Just as Paul and I parked this afternoon
on Stewart Street in the Market, snow began to fall,
hesitantly at first, as if trying itself out
for the first time. We bundled ourselves up the hill
to First Avenue and squeezed into the entryway
of Le Pichet (tiny French bistro)
where every table was occupied. Alas!
There were two booths to be squeezed into
against the wall, and as soon as we sat down,
we noticed that the snow, now apparently boldly confident,
was descending in puffy clumps. A murmur rippled
from table to table, everyone turned his or her head
to the front windows, and a group "Ah!" sounded.
One of the waiters bounded from behind the bar
to the sidewalk, yelping and cheering and flinging
his arms to the heavens, performing a spontaneous
snow-dance. We each ordered Soupe A l'Oignon Gratinee,
which arrived steaming from the broiler,
a gruyere-rich croute afloat
in the rich, deeply-brown beef stock,
onions perfectly soft and sweet,
a hint of Cognac in the finish.
No wine, no coffee, no dessert. No need!
A constantly replenished basket of sliced baguette
and a generous hunk of butter, tall glasses of water,
and soup. And snow.