Issue 82, Winter 1981
My darling was naked, or nearly, for knowing my heart
she had left on her jewels, the bangles and chains
whose jingling music gave her the conquering air
of a Moorish slave on days her master is pleased.
Whenever I hear such insolent harmonies,
that scintillating world of metal and stone
beguiles me altogether, and I am enthralled
by objects whose sound is inseparable from light.
For there she lay on the couch, allowing herself
to be adored, a secret smile indulging
the deep and tenacious currents of my love
which rose against her body like a tide.
Eyes fixed on mine with the speculative glare
of a half-tamed tiger, she kept altering poses,
and the incorporation of candor into lust
gave new charms to her metamorphoses;
calmly I watched, with a certain detachment at first,
as the swan-like arms uncoiled, and then the legs,
the sleek thighs shifting, shiny as oil,
the belly, the breasts—that fruit on my vine—
clustered, more tempting than wicked cherubim,
to undermine what peace I had achieved,
dislodging my soul from its rock-crystal throne
of reflection, once so aloof, so serene.
As if a new Genesis had been at work,
I saw a boy’s torso joined to Antiope’s hips,
belying that lithe waist by those wide loins. . .
O the pride of rouge on that tawny skin!
And then, the lamp having given up the ghost,
the dying coals made the only light in the room:
each time they heaved another flamboyant sigh,
they flushed that amher-colored flesh with blood!