By lamplight, an aged map of Dublin reveals the city
as preached by Swift,
scant lanes and alleys that run like ghost-veins pulsing
the blood of women
who once begged for bread and alms,
who cupped their palms to strangers
in Cutthroat Place. In Murdering Lane,
I look down along the black steps
of three centuries or more. I can hear the throb
of water rising out of ling and heather bogs.
Source is another word for church.
In Rome the poorest mothers left
infants by the Tiber and later, among the nets,
the fishermen found the tangled bones.
Did they lay these bones out as treasure?
Did they toss them back into water?
Every river knows the weight of hunger.
Anna Liffey gives us back our bodies.
The stories of all our mothers are written
on the inner walls of this city I call home.