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Do Not Touch

(after an exhibition by David Nash)

Rachel Carney

we long to reach out to touch
our finger-tips to subtle grains feel grey

tree-bones their risen ridges push
our weight against the hulk of wood

place our palms on each smooth
sanded layer of whittled bark balanced

here in careful white cubed spliced
squashed inside but we must

not lean too close we must weave
our way through this pageant of

magnificent decay squint to see
what they saw the ghost

of a man approaching through
white dawn reaching out with

weathered hands each gentle
stroke a whisper on worn skin

each cut a bite of love enthralled
growing into something more

Rachel Carney is a poet and PhD student based in Cardiff. Her poems, reviews and articles have been published in several magazines including the New Welsh Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Acumen and Wales Arts Review. One of her poems was shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize. She blogs at

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