You are falling in love again. This time
it is a South American general’s daughter.
You want to be stretched on the rack again.
You want to hear awful things said to you
and to admit these things are true.
You want to have unspeakable acts
committed against your person, things
nice people don’t talk about in classrooms.
You want to tell everything you know
on Simon Bolivar, on Jorge Luis Borges,
on yourself most of all.
You want to implicate everyone in this!
Even when it’s four o’clock in the morning
and the lights are burning still –
those lights that have been burning night and day
in your eyes and brain for two weeks –
and you are dying for a smoke and a lemonade,
but she won’t turn off the lights that woman
with the green eyes and little ways about her,
even when you want to be her gaucho.
Dance with me, you imagine hearing her say
as you reach for the empty beaker of water.
Dance with me, she says again and no mistake.
She picks this minute to ask you, hombre,
to get up and dance with her in the nude.
No, you don’t have the strength of a fallen leaf,
not the strength of a little reed basket
battered by waves on Lake Titicaca.
But you bound out of bed
just the same, amigo, you dance
across wide open spaces.
– Raymond Carver