Do not touch me

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.