Henry VI's Hidden Windows
Girl who lived here before me
I will recognise you by the assembly of smells
I have collected in crumbs and traces
The shadow of your hair in the heart of pillows
The print of your toe behind a twisted lip of carpet
The bruise of your fingers in the gum of the desk
The stain of your breath on the wardrobe mirror
Crumb by crumb I am trailing you
so that when we meet I will touch
your hair your feet your hands and mouth
and tell you where you used to live
You will be amazed as if I were
a street magician.
Leaner and less greedy than Philby and co.
he meets me at a place we're both familiar with.
He's hard to recognise from his passport photo,
still easy to locate for such a xenolith:
Toshiro Mifune's beard and teeth,
Pat McGoohan's turtleneck and jacket -
an eyepatch would suit him, or a scar just beneath
He sits sheltered from the racket,
hands on a book, eyes on the clock
(those eyes, at 51, only just going,
so getting used to glasses, though his usual look
- the Dutch cigar and single malt, the throwing
glances like torn tickets through the thick smoke -
very much in force). My ears are keen,
since I owe him them – and I remember last time we spoke
when our mutual mistrust led to a scene.
His information's detailed. Diagrams and blueprints.
His opinions well delivered. I sift through,
murmuring approval. We're a couple of skinflints
when it comes to compliments. It's also true
that we are not known for our dangerous capers
and we're not the most efficient of war cabinets.
He's quick to knock ash on the secret papers
and change the subject to the Plantagenets.
Lean, Vain, Green, I staggered
up the steps of breath that chain
my mouth to your star-swelled areola
I found your tremors, and I answered:
Raise me beyond just the Santa Maria,
take me all the way to America
join me on the lawn with homemade citron pressé,
smell my mother's Himalayan honeysuckle
Let your body
blind me to the bodycount,
my vision of the afterwards,
where I smother the memory-bouquet
with my rancorous heart, long
after the wedding, and
go through the forest, seeking
the pagodas that mark
each arrowed night's ashes
Strike out these visions
of crows over wheatfields, I want you.