NGC3949

NGC3949

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.

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Adam O'Riordan

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1Manchester

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2Vanishing Points: I Beach Huts, Milford, 1930

3Vanishing Points: II A Wedding Letter, Edinburgh, 1906

4Vanishing Points: III A Trade Union College, Dumferline, 1983

5NGC3949

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6Goooogle

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7The Whetstone

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8The Moth

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9The Corpse Garden

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10Scar Tissue

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11Blossom

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12The Edges of Love: I A College Window, Cambridge

13The Edges of Love: II A Department Store Escalator, Paris

14Dressing

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15Trawling

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16Manuel Uribe Garza

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17My Father in the Garden

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18Candle Moulds

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19Silver Lake

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20A Double Wash Stand

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21Dun Laoghaire

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22An Apron Pocket

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23Sandy Hook

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24A Hearth Fire

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25Heidelberg

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26A Bedstead

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27Teatralnaya

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28A Dance in the Kitchen

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29Painted Eggs

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30The Leverets

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31Cheat

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32On Fixing a Bloody Mary

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33Oysters

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34Mareotis

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35Portrait of a Copper Beach

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36Portrait of a Barn Owl

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37Revenants

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38Endnote

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39Ring Angels

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40The Act of Falling

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41Cull

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42Pallbearers

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