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.