Aston Quay

I go down to the Liffey
to think of girls.
Not because the English
called her Anna Liffey,
unable to pronounce her Irish name,
not even because she begins
in the mountains,
hill dark girl,
her feet in pig shit
in the Wicklow bog.

Not even because every life
is an unfinished life
every one emptying, always emptying,
every one again leaking
up from the mud

but because I have never mastered either,
neither girl nor water,
but at least I can see,
from Bachelors Walk or Aston Quay,
bridges, hard bridges,
open for her,
and on her skin
unscrolling to the sea,
the rain in Dublin paint
her margins silver.


Of the five rivers
most know two of the others,
my sisters.

You’ve never met them?
Sure, we run into each other.
Lethe and Styx

get the spotlight,
but I want to talk about

You have five shots
on the bar.
I’m the last one, right?