translated from the Spanish of Salvador Díaz Mirón
I saw her amid purple swirls.
I saw Cleopatra, a young girl
stretched out upon her back,
inhaling a scented aphrodisiac
from a brazier encrusted with pearls.
As the silky smoke did curl
around her jeweled body, her hand, bold
as the paw of a tiger, fired her hair with gold.
Her feet, white lilies; her ankles bangled
with opals; her arms entangled
in turquoise, garnets and diamond darts.
Her flesh, cool as all the perfumed arts
of Egypt. Ah! If only I could enter her door,
I’d offer all my laurels, riches—everything I adore!