They let fall the book, when they see
that they are the ones in the book.
(They will be in another, greater,
but what can that matter to them.)
Now they are Paolo, Francesca,
not two friends who are sharing
the savour of a fable.
They gaze with incredulous wonder.
Their hands do not touch.
They’ve discovered the sole treasure;
They have found one another.
They betray no Malatesta,
since betrayal requires a third
and they are the only two on earth.
They are Paolo and Francesca
and the queen and her lover too
and all the lovers who’ve been
since Adam went with Eve
in the Paradise garden.
A book, a dream reveals
that they are forms in a dream once
dreamt in Brittany.
Another book will ensure that men,
dreams also, dream of them.
Jorge Luis Borges, 1981
Translation by A. S. Kline