Adam O'Riordan


As in the beach scene framed on this postcard -
where a jovial uncle is packed into sand
until even his head disappears below ground.
Just so, Ovid tells how the unchaste Vestal Virgins
were shovelled under, quite alive but drowsy,
no longer afraid of the dark or the weight
of the dirt that will drown them.

In this dingy pub cinders in a grate dust over.
I dab the tip of my nose for your odour,
remembering how, like a pontiff wet with balm
when anointing, I sunk with the fluke of your hips,
our movements incessant as a distaff and spindle.
Then, with them away and your place empty,
how we changed, stepped up our game and conjured;

two mongrel dogs locked and hot with instinct,
which became a horse the rider moves in time with.
Spent, our bodies two eels fetched up in a bucket.
Night reclaims the light, a bell chimes,
my glass is drained, through the window pane
this interior steadies itself on the street.
I watch the stream of passers-by walk through me.


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