Home Self-Guided Exploration What the skin hungers for
Poetry, Vulnerability

What the skin hungers for

High Holy Days 2023

Poem written by Ellen Steinbaum, used with permission from the author

The heartfelt handshake, yes, or
hug of course, but maybe even more
what would have passed unnoticed then:
the slight encountering of edges as we
leaned into one another on subway seats
enlarged in winter by layers of sweaters,
coats and, through our clothes, the stranger’s
arm was simple presence only, hardly felt,
the way in narrow theater seats, a sleeve to
sleeve or even briefest brush of flesh to flesh
occurred below the level of intrusion,
leaving now only a vague insistent drone:
the aching touch of what is absent.