Holding My Breath

  I am possessed
  by the well-dressed mandarins
  of memory. Their long jaws

  fall to a marbled floor
  and thimbling fish
  sing in their throats: how

  longships and coracles,
  shoals, the totems of destiny
  frightened the storm.

  I also think, holding
  my deaf breath beneath their
  old brocaded cloaks,

  of you, your silvery hands
  clasped on my head,
  or dancing over my shoulders,

  our mouths meeting
  in a gentle barcarolle,
  in echo - and remember

  the archaeology of our bodies,
  how starved they are.
  The moonlight is pigment

  I lick from the bright
  white of your thighs, hunting
  the double shudder

  of your lips, those moments
  when we take each other
  spinning like myth,

  where legends are breath
  and I am possessed by
  memory: rugs, shawls,

  rose and ochre, fantastic
  mandarin silks
  and our fabulous dew.

From the book Love Poems