Over Wine



He glanced, gave me extra charm

and I took it as my own.

Happily I gulped a star.


I let myself be invented,

modelled on my own reflection

in his eyes. I dance, dance, dance

in the stir of sudden wings.


The chairís a chair, the wine is wine,

in a wineglass thatís the wineglass

standing there by standing there.

Only Iím imaginary,

make-believe beyond belief,

so fictitious that it hurts.


And I tell him tales about

ants that die of love beneath

a dandelionís constellation.

I swear a white rose will sing

if you sprinkle it with wine.


I laugh and I tilt my head

cautiously, as if to check

whether the invention works.

I dance, dance inside my stunned

skin, in his arms that create me.


Eve from the rib, Venus from foam,

Minerva from Jupiterís head Ė

all three were more real than me.


When he isnít looking at me,

I try to catch my reflection

on the wall. And I see the nail

where a picture used to be.




Wisława Szymborska††

(from Salt 1962)†††††††††††