Breezy Girl on a High Balcony
translated by Luis Silva Pinto
I’m not waiting for anything to happen, I’m not going anywhere. This is not a game of Hide-and-Seek. Suddenly I just broke away from everybody. That marble staircase, I’d never seen anything that grand before. Lucky me, I had on perfect shoes, the soles not remotely slippery so I could leap from stair to stair, barely touching my feet to stone at all.
It was only when I got to the top and looked around that the wind came up, like we both turned the same corner at the same time, the wind and I. This surprised me as I had been feeling entirely alone, all by myself overlooking gridded streets full of people and cars. Up here it was just me, the building, and the wind. Solid, shoes on stable stone, back held upright by an enormous smooth pillar.
Why was I drawn to climb this high? Some magnetic force pulled me and I said Yes. Then it was as if this breezy air had been waiting to surround me all along. In my mind I’m writing an ode to wind, like the one we memorized in class: “Wild Spirit … moving everywhere … bright hair uplifted from the head.” Cool shockwaves up bare thighs, above my socks, inside my underpants.
Around this corner I can’t hear a thing, not a sound, nothing from anywhere, not even from a distance. The smell is grape lollipops and water. I’m not even a little scared. Someone must be looking for me, wondering where I’ve gone. Right? How would I describe this to them, where I am? In between coming and going, motion and stillness, safe and not really because I’ve completely forgotten every step I took to get here, I will never find my way back. Everyone else must have moved on to somewhere by now. How long have I been up here? I can’t even see where the sun must be moving lower in the sky, how much time has gone by.
O Wind, what is time?
“If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”
I will not be punished for my desires. If I choose to follow an inviting staircase to the highest landing of some tall wide architecture, that is my right, the wish that’s my command, to find what I can find. I might never need anybody else ever again. This place suits me. I will never be hungry here, having left earthly neediness down below. I won’t care that when the sun disappears behind the horizon it will be dark all around. I’m fortified in a fortress. Like stone myself, a work of art, carved of stone, impenetrable, immobile, self-containing all the “tumult of thy mighty harmonies.”
*Quotes from Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)