a night in Parma

They say he's not drunk,
but I hear his words run together
without any distinctions between them,
the Ssss's slipping into each other.
Sweat droplets form on his face,
dripping down his cheeks
yet are then wiped away with the same terry cloth
that is used for the proscuitto
when the meat gets sliced
into paper-thin
salty treats,
passed out among the group.
As we chew it slowly,
some people notice the taste.
I can tell by their faces.
While others -- him especially --
don't seem to be aware of it in their mouths,
too distracted by the alcohol rushing
through their hot veins
and the music all around us.

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