What could it be about my smile?
I wonder, looking at you,
melting before you all the while.

A stupid question, in the first place:
is it a material thing?
The muscles creating pleasure on the face?

Is it the way the thought of you has such power
it contracts the crows’ feet round my eyes
from fans to sprigs of flowers?

Do you like my smiling mouth’s crevasse,
and how it makes my cheeks
bunch in a bun-shaped mass?

Or how my moustache’s curtain
sweeps free of my teeth (still real)
above the gums' pink ribbon?

The way my eyes, rather than widen,
get tighter, my cow-like lashes
making them still more hidden?

Do you spy a pleasant heat-dispersion
across my pale freckled skin,
or enjoy my general lack of aggression?

Or something behind all this? A midget-sized
power supply, hidden back there?
Can you see I'm in working order through my eyes?

Or, darling, is it that my smile reflects how you —
before you've even done it—will get
embarrassed by it; then start smiling too?

Translated by David Hill



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