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.