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APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'On the Stairs' by C.P. Cavafy
On the Stairs
As I was going down the shameful stair,
you came in the door, and for moment
I saw your unfamiliar face and you saw me.
Then I hid so you wouldn't see me again, and you
passed by quickly as you hid your face,
and stole inside the shameful house
where you likely found no pleasure, just as I found none.
And yet the love you wanted, I had to give you;
the love I wanted - your eyes told me so,
tired and suspicious - you had to give me.
Our bodies sensed and sought each other out;
our blood and skin understood.
But we hid from each other, we two, terrified.
Excerpt from CAVAFY. Translation Copyright (c) 2009, 2012, 2014 by Daniel Mendelsohn. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.