On the pool hall wall
still a hair-oil stain from
the young guy with acrobat hips
whom the poet loved and whose
whoring bothered him as little
as Pompey’s pillar.
Jealousy was five minutes of brown, sluggish rain
outside the bead curtain, an Alexandrian
outbreak of apathy in slack wind
over Lake Mareotis.
Whose crocodile, a mummy now
- main attraction of the Gr.-Rom. Museum –
stretches on its wooden bed,
scales blighted to acid dust:
not real, but lasting.
(Translated by Rosemarie Waldrop)