I drew up short. And, yes, I drew in startled –
– that shorn hair, standing on edge
like a black hedgehog, instead of the soft tresses
I’d dreamt had bound my heart –
– that T-shirt, black as the night
in which I found her, her breasts beneath it
hardly fluctuating –
that she was hot inside, though, was witnessed
by the smoke erupting from her nostrils. But
though I rode there straightaway, on having noticed
the very first hint of fire from a distance
when I arrived her gaze didn’t seek mine.
Her violet eyes, totally vacant of seemly modesty,
reflected only the dragon stretched out there beside her.
This woman had no desire to be saved
or to depend on me – perhaps only to live
her own reality, a mere fairytale,
it’s hardly likely I’d risk my life for that.
Therefore I turned my horse’s head and left her
to burn where she had chosen to – behind me
Maria Grech Ganado (born 1943) Malta
Translated by the author