The tao of touch

A poem from today’s Writer’s Almanac:

 

The tao of touch

by Marge Piercy

What magic does touch create
that we crave it so. That babies
do not thrive without it. That
the nurse who cuts tough nails
and sands calluses on the elderly
tells me sometimes men weep
as she rubs lotion on their feet.

Yet the touch of a stranger
the bumping or predatory thrust
in the subway is like a slap.
We long for the familiar, the open
palm of love, its tender fingers.
It is our hands that tamed cats
into pets, not our food.

The widow looks in the mirror
thinking, no one will ever touch
me again, never. Not hold me.
Not caress the softness of my
breasts, my inner thighs, the swell
of my belly. Do I still live
if no one knows my body?

We touch each other so many
ways, in curiosity, in anger,
to command attention, to soothe,
to quiet, to rouse, to cure.
Touch is our first language
and often, our last as the breath
ebbs and a hand closes our eyes.

 

8 thoughts on “The tao of touch

  1. Yes, and especially this:

    We long for the familiar, the open
    palm of love, its tender fingers.
    It is our hands that tamed cats
    into pets, not our food.

  2. And this one is mine…..

    The widow looks in the mirror
    thinking, no one will ever touch
    me again, never. Not hold me.
    Not caress the softness of my
    breasts, my inner thighs, the swell
    of my belly. Do I still live
    if no one knows my body?

    1. Re: And this one is mine…..

      Yes, you will be touched again, in tenderness and love. Yes, you will find what you need again.

      And in the meantime, all those who love you know you still live, and treasure this fact.

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