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The commissioner of oaths

—Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

The commissioner of oaths

I knock. she knows

that I'm coming. I tell her

who I am – she grunts,

lets me in. give her

the affidavits

and stand in a room

where people stand.

rooms show the mood

of their regular occupants:

here worry. the damp stinks

like laundry left

balled overnight. divorces

and family arguments ring.

land registrations and things.

I'm fascinated – wonder

what her story is, and what

her expenses must be

in this business. she asks

for €10 per signature. has me hold

up my right hand and swear

that I've read them. I haven't

but what the hell – it's boilerplate.

is that perjury? well,

what will they do?


DS MAOLALAÍ has been described by one editor as "a cosmopolitan poet" and another as "prolific, bordering on incontinent". His work has nominated eleven times for Best of the Net, eight for the Pushcart Prize and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016), "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022).

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