I dreamed I already loved you.
I dreamed I already killed you.
But you rose again; another form, but you,
a girl on the little ball of the earth,
naive simplicity, curve-necked
on that early canvas of Picasso,
and prayed to me with your ribs:
‘Love me, ‘ as though you said, ‘Don’t push me off.’
I’m that played-out, grown-up acrobat,
hunchbacked with senseless muscles,
who knows that advice is a lie,
that sooner or later there’s falling.
I’m too scared to say: ‘I love you, ‘
because I’d be saying: ‘I’ll kill you.’
For in the depths of a face I can see through
I see the faces-can’t count them-
that, right on the spot, or maybe
not right away, I tortured to death.
You’re pale from the mortal balance. You say:
‘I know everything; I was all of them.
I know you’ve already loved me.
I know you’ve already killed me.
But I won’t spin the globe backwards:
Love again, and then kill again.’
Lord, you’re young. Stop your globe.
I’m tired of killing. I’m not a damn thing but old.
You move the earth beneath your little feet,
you fall, ‘Love me.’
It’s only in those eyes, so similar, you say:
‘This time don’t kill me! ‘
Translated by James Dickey with Anthony Kahn (revised)