Books & Books, Lincoln Road

The image is other, it suffers. The season changing no sooner than
it’s noticed. I was reading Paul Auster’s Invisible when you came
around: there I was, seated, and the books, so many books, the smell
of paper and ink and not much else. There I was, between Rudolph
Born, Adam Walker, and the girl, like some absurd witness passing
through. Page after page, I kept thinking of impulse, of its desire,
that stuff things are made of. Invisible and I, just the two of us; then
you came in. Desire returns. Invisible. Invisible. I read a few words
but the image returns: you, going from book to book, skimming
your fingers across the glossy covers, the paper that contains a whole
world in another language. At some point, Born implies that the boy
should be with his lover, with Born’s lover. I want to be in the world
of the book, to be another character, to tell Born that the boy can
be with his lover, with the French girl. It is not cycles of love, but of
desire. Everything happens like in the book, but in the end, here we
are, he and I, regarding ourselves slowly, without language. I think
on the limits of devastation, of the rain that falls outside, of the little
words the boy speaks without my understanding; I see his fair skin,
his eyes meet mine in the empty air. There is no triumph, and there
won’t be. It’s an image, nothing more, I tell myself. Before he left, his
eyes came to rest on me again. It was futility that I felt, the idea of
belonging only to a moment’s memory, the absence of everything,
and of words.

—Carlos Pintado, Nine Coins/Nueve monedas
Winner of the National Poetry Series Paz Prize for Poetry