Posts Tagged ‘touch’




Because I cannot be there to hold my father’s hand, 

I walk into my children’s room and hold my daughter and son 

as if love in one room emits a wave strong enough  

to be felt many states away. Because I am afraid, 

I don’t try to pretend I am not. Tears run hot 

down my face and I don’t dam them.   

When they dry, I let them dry. 

Because I am helpless to fix my father’s kidneys, 

I tell him I love him, as if words could help 

filter his blood before returning it to his heart, 

his tender heart.  

Because the helicopter is flying him to Miami, 

the blades of my worry begin to spin. 

Because I can’t stop them, I turn them 

into a giant wing that carries prayers 

into the rooms where I’m not allowed to go. 

And though I’m not there, I hold his hand, 

imagine it heavy in my own. Because maybe 

he can feel it. Because I don’t want him to be alone.  


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Song of Touch



The world wants to be touched—

thin spikes of grass push up to bare soles,

the near weightless of the paper wasp nest

graces the open palms.

Cool earth crumbles between fingers.

Onion starts celebrate smoothness.

The chill rush of the river.

The comforting heat held in south facing cliffs.

The cactus spine was made

to prove how sharp it is.

The thorn bush tugs on the legs because it can.

And I, though I can be pricklesome,

I, too, long to be held, to be cradled,

to be kissed. I long to know myself

through the hands and lips of you,

the way the piano is most itself

when it’s touched, the way

bread becomes bread

when kneaded.

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This morning, my teenage boy and I

sit quiet on the couch. He does not move

to pick up his phone. I do not rise to work

or rush to make a meal. We sit, leaning

the trunks of our bodies into each other.

We do not say much. I close my eyes

and cherish his sapling weight.

There are so few people I dare now hug—

our hands, our bodies dangerous—

but here in this house so still I can almost

hear him growing, here in these minutes

that fell off the clock, here I remember

how surely we baptize each other with touch.

Such simple blessing. Silence. The metronome

of breath. The leaning in. Infectious love.

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It’s something the hands learn

with practice—how thin to slice

the apples for drying, how close

to cut to the core. In the same way

the hands learn to touch a lover,

how gently, how firmly, just where.

Oh the apple. What it knows

of desire. What it knows

of bruising, of bite. Oh the hands,

what they know of precision.

Of the pleasure of practice.

Of the joy in getting it right.

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from Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 2


like an almost breeze

like sunshine slanting through

afternoon clouds—

touch me like that

like the rain I’m not sure is there

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In fencing, they call it la belle,

“the beautiful one” the tie-breaking point

in a bout—that moment when

one person touches another

and the balance is tipped.

How long ago the balance tipped

in your favor. How long ago

I knew that all I really want

is to lower my sword,

give the invitation

for you to touch me again,

beautifully, tip to target, then

start the bout again.

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Without Making a Sound




The cat does not care that I’m meditating.

She cares that I am warm and seated and still.

I pretend that I am ignoring her and notice

when I pretend not to notice I am pretending.

She settles in my lap. I notice how

this act seems to involve the whole world.

All day, I consider how powerful an act

to touch someone. how even the sky leans in.


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A piano is just

some wood and strings

until it’s touched—

and then it sings.

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What She Wanted to Say

Let’s not talk of things we’ve done,
let’s correspond with touch.
Your skin the land, my hands the sun,
love, let’s not talk of things we’ve done—
we’ll let our chatty fingers run
in tangled narratives… oh hush
mmm, let’s not talk of things we’ve done,
let’s correspond with touch.

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on our fingers,
six layers of skin
our hands
are made to touch


my daughter
picks a small stone
from the parking lot
and puts it
in her mouth


how do we know
what is real?
the stone
in the mouth
smooth and gritty and cold


the days
are so short.
they turn
into years
that are so, so short


and have we touched
the fingers
still have much
skin left


I am being
but you can’t see …
it’s all inside
the canyons deepening


I used to rush
to fill in
small stones
sinking into a pond


I have said
too much.

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