Thanks to the hacks that still insist
on fixing the smallest glitch in Luke‚
the Lord’s Prayer can be gamely glossed
at the tenth line. No more is sin a lake
we’re led to like bullocks on market-day
but rather rum misadventure:
Save us—and here things get a little coy—
at the time of trial. So censure‚
you will note‚ ceases to be the point.
Our trial will come‚ with a banal clunk‚
certain as a night-time accident
beneath the sheets of a novice monk.
Maybe the poor brother will someday learn
to foil his loins and be reborn

but the rest of us? I have a friend—
how to avoid fogging this with Greek?—
well‚ she’s seen our photo and seems not to mind.
By which I mean‚ I’ve come into luck‚
a jackpot by my normal standard.
Sloping from the corner‚ she lands
at a Siamese angle by my side‚
by which I mean my clammy hands
anticipate her clinch. Am I being clear?
I mean underwear dilates as she roves
into smelling distance‚ that my pores
seethe with a pheasant reduction‚ cloves
and other odours of the lavished boy
who can’t decide if he wants to try

the wares. I can’t‚ then‚ but summon my first
speculative shots at courting you‚
and your announcement‚ or perhaps your boast‚
I willed against till it proved untrue:
I don’t believe in monogamy.
Now‚ I had to approach a phrase like this
with a certain flexibility‚
a feel for the deeper emphasis.
I translated it a handkerchief
fluttered down to commence the game.
By gradual‚ doting steps‚ the bluff
was exposed‚ we annulled that glum
and altogether too easy vow.
I may have to hold you to it now.