Hotel with Health Suite

Becalmed in a Midlands town
one listless, shrouded winter afternoon
we glide down mute corridors to a bright hypocaust
of air and water mixed.
Middle-aged treats.

One plunge
turns the white body’s planes amphibian.
Lighter than frogs, we sit in a warm rock-pool,
bubbling in separate pleasuring.

Once, on a screen,
I saw such amniotic ecstasy as this.
Caught in a tracery of sound, a mannikin
turned cartwheels in my belly’s tides,
danced like a doll cut from paper, then,
drowsy with buffeting,
slept, thumb in mouth, on the sprung pillow of my heart.

In the sweet sauna you lie grave as a Finn.
In steam you turn sinister, drip mistily,
emerge blurred, weak with heat,
every pore purged of winter’s grubby air.
We swim in circles like trapped seals,
pad to our bland room for love,
make the coals hiss.

Ann Segrave