A galaxy in Ursa Major whose formation mirrors, almost exactly, that of our own.
Back from the perforated dark and growing distance,
Hubble’s milky image brings us to ourselves.
The echo pitched up from the moss-wet well:
a lover’s shape, that indelible stain on the iris.
(Years down the line, you swear blind
the cut and sway of a dark form is her.
Neon dazzles the rain-slicked street
as you wave away the cab and push
back down through the crowd into the bar,
pilot charting the wrong star by candlelight,
leagues off course; the face, of course, is another’s.)
In this spiral galaxy the arms embrace the core.
Not her – or your idea of her – and never will be.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is.
from In The Flesh (Chatto & Windus, 2010), © Adam O’Riordan 2010, used by permission of the author.