When you entered the workshop, I was already here.
How many statues, and torsos, and heads!
Like remains of the battle that never ends.
I am giggling into my beard. Wind’s fluffy plume
Is struggling with the curtain. I know you can hear
Both, not becoming distinct, no matter for whom.
I wanted something glamorous, significant
For my tomb. But now I’m not sure any more.
Maybe, a small chamber with a wooden door
Would be best. Plant around it something nice,
Bring my hour-glass, my favourite rolls in it.
Keep around a couple of cats, for the mice.
Or rather let us order an alabaster
Vase, with my name carved on the outside of the rim.
And something brief, impressive, like “I adored him.
Gone, but never forgotten.” Of course, in Greek.
I am at last my own judge, my own master.
So much freedom it makes me sick.
Eros is shooting at me, the boy pink and tender.
For the first time his puny arrows cause me pain.
Here, here he’s aiming at me again,
While you are standing in the doors, with your forced smile,
Talking politely to the sculptor, so warm and slender
That I’m bleeding all over, fuming like a torch. No, I’ll
Never, never, never leave you. I’ll never leave you.
Let them all come after me, let them all drag me away.
I’ll come back as a breeze, I’ll come back as the smell of hay,
As anything with legs to crawl, wings to push down the stubborn wind.
I’ll tear up the mouldy roll of my fate, I’ll start it all anew.
I’ll not go anywhere. I’ll not leave you behind.
I think you have paid him too much. It is only an advance.
You’ll see, he will ask for more when the work is done.
I approve of your choice. “His life’s race is run and won.”
In plain Latin, accessible. Me as a young athlete,
With a huge laurel wreath, looking a bit askance
At the other runners. Yes, there is something in it.