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The Tobacco Shop Window

by Constantine Cavafy

translated from the Greek by Theoharis C. Theoharis

Near a bright-lit tobacco shop window
they stood, among many others.
Their glances met, randomly,
and fearing, hesitant, expressed
their flesh’s outlawed desire.
A few anxious, sidewalk steps followed,
until they smiled, and nodded slightly.

And then came the closed coach . . .
the senses drawing in two bodies:
the hands united, and the lips.


Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) is considered by many to have been the premier Modern Greek poet. (1998)

Theoharis C. Theoharis teaches at Harvard and is the editor of the Boston Book Review. He is the author of Joyce's Ulysses: An Analysis of the Soul and Ibsen's Drama: Right Action and Tragic Joy. He is finishing a new translation of all Cavafy's poems. (1998)

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