Monday, 1 February 2016

If You Touch Me


go gentle, if you touch me,
today there’s too much to break,
don’t you see these cracks
crawling over
my face, like feathers,
all crumpled and slight? Go tender, if you touch me,
as though brushing starlight with your fingers,
and drawing it near, if you scold me, go quietly,
and whisper
for fear that I startle
too swiftly this day, though if your touch
offers safety,
I will want you;
...go careful,
but stay

and make this moment a shelter,
a home, a hide,
for I feel nought but a bird now,
so lost in dark night, and oh, so open,
to being eaten
alive, if you touch me,
say ‘precious’, say ‘shield’, for I give you all I beg,
all I borrow
and steal, that keeps me here,
in weakness, revealed,
with no lies to detect;
if you touch me, say ‘encircle’,
say ‘protect’, and I’ll listen, and I promise
to believe;

if you touch me,
don’t be too rough,
don’t pull me, don’t push me, don’t
this air and this noise is already harsh enough
to bruise, and to batter
and scrape;

please, if you touch me,
something like the truth on my skin:
that I am more than this moment;
this flaw;

that I am still everything.


There was thick
mud that day
as I slid, and slipped
my way, along the steep ravine to you;
as I did the things
that were asked of me,
that, right then, I did not want to do.

I looked upon the bottom
of a tree, roots entangled; an evergreen; a place that had always been to me,
a spot called clear to mind;
the place your dust rested,
in the shape of a cross,
in a year gone far behind.

I laid the roses
I didn’t want
to lay; and I said words I had not
prepared to say,
and I kissed my fingers in a dutiful way, and
pressed them
to the freezing ground. And then I turned around,
and climbed the sticky hill, shaking legs and an iron
will, not a tear nor a trace
would show.

And I walked away, triumphant; ready to go,
when a voice called out: ‘Not there…no.’
And it went on: ‘That’s not the place.
No, the ashes were never
spread that way. That wasn’t what they had to say…
you recall it all so 
wrong.’ And I tried to remember; even just which
song, was played the first
and last – and all I could hear
was the shattering of glass, as I realised each effort
drew a blank,
from the darkest corner of my mind.

I had no memories of any kind; it seemed all I’d known
were self-told lies, and today I cannot even find, the truth
about the colour
of the box
we laid you in.
But I think I remember
what you were wearing.
And I see lilies
and roses
when I close my eyes;
on the nights when I am lucky enough,
not to see
the moments
before you died. I remember those
the best.

I’m sorry…
I didn’t mean to.
I seem to have forgotten the rest.