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Translated from the Greek by Theoharis C. Theoharis
Published: Thu Oct 15 1998
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
The Tobacco Shop Window

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.

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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Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) lived in Alexandria and is commonly considered the premier modern Greek poet.

Theoharis Constantine Theoharis is an Associate Professor in the Literature faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of _Joyce’s Ulysses: An Anatomy of the Soul _(U. of North Carolina Press, 1988), and editor of a  critical series forthcoming from Harvard University Press. (updated 1990)
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