Outside the mine, I met a superb lyrebird.
He was bound to a slave and his song was the chain,
wind and glasses clinking in the dark.
Then a Russian girl from the Rathmines
came up and whispered her name, which I have forgotten,
long black hair locking hands with the tail of the bird.
We all carried coal to the roofless breaker up the road
and watched the shadows work
to make the sky-sized meteor.
Pipe in the mouth of the conscript and me with my candle,
the swan in the girl.
On a Quarter Century
I was like the rat in the subway.
One in three chance I would love
the wrong rail and be sent back.
All the deadly vestiges—
the gods just wouldn’t explain them.
I was like a pharaoh with a bandshell
for a helmet, in which
soft chamber music played.
Kids in Oblivion
Often in the fall through the sun-
filtered trees, one of them careening
down the blank white path,
the water was a wall of diamonds.
And for this lucky one
breathless ahead of all others,
lips like a hula hoop spinning,
a large chunk of soul was given over.
And all the rest arrived
as a fine-tooth comb of gilt shadows,
as he entered her surface to leave them
a wave and be born in your body.
Glowing At the Wreck
You and I have a lot to talk about.
Damnificados del ciclón,
sewn up in sailcloth and thrown off the cutter,
children of the storm and urge.
Both of us were dervishes then,
great big pocketknives our only companions
and girls back home we claimed to love
who hardly knew us.
Inside the hull was this purring engine
passing through the eye of a camel,
a desert, a desert, a desert.
More concerned with getting there than where to go.