Do not touch me

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His burial clothes are rolled into a ball in the hospital cupboard,

One of those upright rectangular boxes elongated for space.

His burial clothes, black trousers bought for a wedding that now slip from his hips.

How thin those hips, narrow as a skeleton’s frame.

His burial clothes, black bomber jacket bought for warmth and for fit.

No longer needed.

His burial clothes a reminder he is gone.

 

In spaces like these when my desire runs whimpering from the room

I cannot write

I cannot read

I can only listen to the thump of my heart against my breastbone

And all I can remember is the gasp and pause of fear

The dark fear that beset me as a child when my father’s voice ricocheted across a room

Do not touch me I say

Do not touch me for I am made of stone or other flint like stuff that repels contact

Do not touch me for I am made of wounds.

Wall to wall wounds that extend from the top of my shoulder blades to my knees.

My breastplate armour against sensation.

Do not touch me for I will dissolve in your arms and die.

 

 

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5 Comments on Do not touch me

  1. Kass
    March 1, 2016 at 3:35 am (2 years ago)

    I’m wondering if you happened to see “Till it Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground” at the Oscars last night. This raw prose/poem is stirring like that performance….

    Such a heavy subject that cannot be treated lightly.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      March 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm (2 years ago)

      I saw that performance, Kass. So haunting and devastating when you think of all the horrors behind it. Not an easy subject at all. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Louise Allan
    March 3, 2016 at 8:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow. Someone needs to give this poem to Pell. But I don’t think he’d get it.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      March 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m full up in my mind with this whole Pell issue too, Louise. It’s so horrible, the level of denial given the atrocity of these abuses. Thanks.

      Reply

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