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 Love Poems