Drinking Wine

By Wislawa Szymborska

He looked at me, bestowing beauty,
and I took it for my own.
Happy, I swallowed a star.

I let him invent me
in the image of the reflection
in his eyes. I dance, I dance
in an abundance of sudden wings.

A table is a table, wine is wine
in a wineglass, which is a wineglass
and it stands standing on a table
but I am a phantasm,
a phantasm beyond belief,
a phantasm to the core.

I tell him what he wants to hear—

about ants dying of love
under a dandelion’s constellation.
I swear that sprinkled with wine
a white rose will sing.

I laugh, and tilt my head
carefully, as if I were testing
an invention. I dance, I dance
in astounded skin, in the embrace
that creates me.

Eve from a rib, Venus from sea foam,
Minerva from the head of Jove
were much more real.

When he’s not looking at me,
I search for my reflection
on the wall. All I see
is a nail on which a painting hung.

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