The Tuesday Poem: The Memory of Touch

They say my friend’s grandmother

is a white witch, a bandraoi,

who lives alone above Kerry cliffs.

People like her still exist

in the country

with their healing hands: farmers,

and butchers’ wives who can cure

migraines, sleeplessness.

Your hands on my naked back,

fingertips calloused

from guitar strings, palms warm

with unnatural heat,

laid prints

like burning ash over my skin.

You traced a glowing pattern.

Images rose beneath your touch:

you sketched the soft

shuffle of flowers opening,

the Eiffel Tower at sunset,

two birds in the sky

of a blue-painted canvas.

A twitch in your fingers

as your conjured heart-shaped chocolates

from my flesh

before plucking them

one by one

and putting them to your tongue.

Your hands were the sun,

a healing heat that seeped

through my bones.

When I laid my own palms on you,

I asked what you felt

and you said, Nothing,

except for your hands.

Róisín Kelly was born in Northern Ireland on 1990. She has an MA in Writing from NUIG. Her poems have appeared in Crannog, The Galway Review and elsewhere. Currently she lives in Cork.

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