I remember where I was standing when I got the idea for this poem. It was west of Logan, at a park on the banks of the Little Bear River. A summer night.
Nolo Me Tangere (touch me not)
We stand, close but not quite touching,
She with her back to me, watching
The darkness climb the mountain.
Arms crossed, curve of back, hips just so,
Head slightly to one side.
Soft as twilight
Calm as the river
Lovely as the sunset
Distant as the mountains
What if I should put my hand, palm out, near her back,
Just where the spine flows into hips?
Would lightning fly from my fingertips?
Would small arcs of fire dance about her back
Driving away the shadow that steals up the mountain?
Would she turn, give a slow smile,
Blank and compassionate, then
Turn back to the mountain?
Oh Lord, why so many nerve endings in our hands,
If not to touch?
Why the slow clip and mend of evolution
If not to bond person to person
With a stroke to a cheek,
Or a hand in a hand?
Or to touch a shoulder,
Look, point, there is a hawk.
I drop my hands to my sides.