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What it Means to be Touched

Kathryn Silver-Hajo

Am I not willing to believe

that all will somehow be well

when kerosene creeps

under the door threatening

to ignite everything

we love--

our bodies free

from judgement and intrusion or

an animal 

we can’t understand

searching for vanishing ice

scavenging wretched

truckstop cafe dumpsters

its whiteness stained

not from blood

nor the hunt but

a surfeit of ketchup packets

the rotting remains of 

a fisherman’s platter

all that was beautiful in this world

turned strange--

and when the beast inside me rears 

ready to snarl and strike

you soak the flame-hungry petrol flow

with rags of old cotton things

we’ve loved like

the threadbare t-shirt I wore to bed

on a night shimmering hot and enticing

as a mirage

and you having averted disaster

if only for a moment 

come to remind me

Kathryn Silver-Hajo is a 2023 Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best American Food Writing nominee. “The Sweet Softness of Dates” was selected for the 2023 Wigleaf Top 50 longlist. Kathryn’s work appears in Atticus Review, Craft Literary, New Flash Fiction Review, Pithead Chapel, Ruby Literary and other lovely journals. Her flash collection Wolfsong was published in 2023. Her novel Roots of The Banyan Tree is forthcoming Fall 2023. More at:;;;

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