A prayer then
for the men who sit,
pale as geishas,
by the glow of obsolete

Whose nights are neverending
the busy crickets
of their fingers
stoking engines

with maiden names
and zip codes
of ex-lovers.
God of false trails
and disappearing acts,

deliver us
from the namesake:
Homecoming Queen,
Quaker settler,
tenured academic,

these indices of others.
It’s getting light.
See how the dawn
seems to bleed
from Venus.

from In The Flesh (Chatto & Windus, 2010), © Adam O’Riordan 2010, used by permission of the author.

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