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        XXIII

If once you had never existed,
if the heat of your thighs had not
sought me like a precise heartbeat
and my elective ambiguities
—the darkest days of my self—
had not had you like a credit
of affirmation or excuse,
              it is possible
that this return home in loneliness
and too soon
would remind me now a little less
of the teenager who wagered the world,
with the world at his back.

Only love is hard.
Mired in the night, returning
between authority and lies,
we spoke of power or of dreams
when we talked of embracing.
And maybe I do not know, I do not know if I remember
myself as a prisoner of a body or free alongside it,
seeking salvation or in servitude,
miserable and damned, but amazed.

Maybe this is only about your absence,
about the fact that loss is hard for everyone
and I lack love, as you know.
Maybe with you I was
far too close to its kingdom,
which I need now to deny,
to use the tricks one has
to be able to keep going.

Because we are surely this way,
mistaken husks,
lonely bonfires in the road,
paradises of four rooms
that one only understands
after having signed many times,
just here,
                    where it says The traveler.
And for me, because I prefer to hide my defeats,
I want you to remember me defeated,
99
like he who waits for something
beyond time and facts.
Maybe because we should have foretold it
or because, in any case, no one knows
where dreams end.

autógrafo

Luis García Montero
Translation by Alice McAdams


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Book II
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