For two weeks he’s
been watching the same girl,
someone he sees in
the plaza. In her twenties maybe,
drinking coffee in
the afternoon, the little dark head
bent over a
He watches from
across the square, pretending
to be buying
something, cigarettes, maybe a bouquet of flowers.
Because she doesn’t
know it exists,
her power is very
great now, fused to the needs of his imagination.
He is her prisoner.
She says the words he gives her
in a voice he
imagines, low-pitched and soft,
a voice from the
south as the dark hair must be from the south.
Soon she will
recognize him, then begin to expect him.
And perhaps then
every day her hair will be freshly washed,
she will gaze
outward across the plaza before looking down.
And after that they
will become lovers.
But he hopes this
will not happen immediately
since whatever power
she exerts now over his body, over his emotions,
she will have no
power once she commits herself—
she will withdraw
into that private world of feeling
women enter when
they love. And living there, she will become
like a person who
casts no shadow, who is not present in the world;
in that sense, so
little use to him
it hardly matters
whether she lives or dies.