by Francis Kerst

We were once in Venice
During the Carnival.
Do you remember it?

We were both attending
A lush private party
In this ancient palace,
Nobly decayed and dank,
Whose rich owners and guests
Weren't quite what they seemed...

So we weren't either:
Sent there to meet a man
Who never did appear.
(He will be found at dawn,
Drifting in the canal.)

We waited and waited,
Scanning the masquerade;
I was an admiral
And you a cat burglar;
I wore a red jacket,
You hardly had to change...
You left with a sailor,
I spent the night alone.

And though, we shared a while
Of silent harmony,
As we bent together
Over the balustrade,
To watch the fireworks
Reflected in the sea,
My hand on your shoulder,
My chest against your back...

I didn't see your eyes,
You didn't say a word.
Then, why was I so sure
Of your unvoiced answer
To my unspoken call?

And though I didn't dare
And you didn't either;
I let you free yourself
Of me and walk slowly,
so slowly through the dark...

He was tall and handsome,
The lad who caught your arm
And led you to the door:
Clear eyes, dark hair, trim look,
An easy turn of wit,
A feline elegance.
"Your type, I guess, my friend,
And the night is still young."

"He knows our man," you said.
"We'll search the surroundings."
I smiled and looked away,
As I was meant to do,
As you did so more times...

And I remained thinking
Of you, of me, of things
I'll never say, of fears,
Of denied hopes and needs,
And I remained raving:

The picture of my life
In this crazy daydream
Looks like a spinning top,
Throbbing with light and noise
Under a child's impulse.

Now, the band is playing,
The party sways and whirls,
Brings along its dancers
At a maddening pace,
Sweeps away the remorse,
But the shadow of death
Has fallen on my soul...

For this devilish game,
Where everything is fake,
Has me doomed to the fate
Of laughing and dancing,
when I feel only loss.

Why is the heart of Man
So haughty and so vain
To be wary of Truth,
And as much of silence,
And more than Death itself
To be afraid of Love?

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