I have been in the hands of nurses –
lost my dignity – had it handed back
like a box of tissues. I have felt
the warmth that glows through
the plastic gloves, I know their kindness –

and yet, in pain and fear,
our mammal selves seek skin –
hold my hand tightly –
we’re all that new-born baby
seeking comfort
on our mother’s belly.

I haven’t hugged my husband
in six weeks, she told me.
That’s how we show our love now,
at a time when hugging’s
what we crave. I’m lonely.

Dying, we deserve that press of skin,
that last handhold, before
the loneliness. And we deserve
to take that comfort from the dying.

We forgot that we were animals,
that we built tribes, herds, flocks.
We didn’t realise how much
we needed all those other senses,
living through our eyes,
typing our words, connecting
through our screens. I miss
your arms around me, and
the scent of you, and your
cracked laughter. Most of all,
your touch.

This is for Bjorn at dVerse– a poem written in time of plague. I’m not sure I’ve quite hit the brief. I’d like to think we’ll all be changed, that we’ll realise the value of the underpaid, under-appreciated keyworkers who keep the world running; that we’ll remember the multi-millionaires who dumped their workers in the shit; that we’ll recall which politicians acted in the interests of their country, and which ones acting in the interests of a small elite. I’m not sure that we will. I hope so.


11 thoughts on “Touching

  1. Your poem touches my heart. I think we’ve all learned the need for human touch, especially those who live alone. How meaningful it will be when we are able to touch again!


  2. I love your writing so much! “We forgot that we were animals”. Soon at earthweal, I will be discussing the link between the wild animal trafficking trade, wet markets, and us. I am not sure what will change on the other side of this, though it has shown us what NEEDS to change. For example, they closed the “wet” markets at the beginning of the pandemic – but opened them as soon as the lockdown ended. Sigh. Already experts are predicting the next pandemic. My heart sinks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s