Now that we can’t touch, I am awash
with all the ways that touch sustains us:
like an electricity from one heart to another
or the ancient rush of water down a falls into
the basin of a village. I’m thinking of how you
wiped my brow in the hospital and the time
you stroked a fallen bird, its beak aquiver,
and the time your mother held your face,
saying, “I saw how loving you are the day
you were born.” Or the moment I caught
a stranger in the parking lot as her groceries
splattered, her cart wobbling away. Earlier,
it was Grandma hoisting me to my feet in
her Brooklyn alley and the hands of my
father guiding mine as he taught me to
use a chisel. Now I’m seeing Whitman
as a medic in the Civil War wrapping a
bandage around a corporal’s chest. And 
now I close my eyes to send my touch
like a Shaman across the dreamscape,
hoping it will reach you.

A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of a time when someone’s touch was healing to you.

This excerpt is from my book of poems, The Tone in the Center of the Bell.

The Life of Expression: Finding Your Voice, Mark Nepo’s new 3-session webinar starting June 13, will center on the lifelong process of listening, reflecting, and expressing, and on how bearing witness to the truth of living reveals the mysteries of life. For more information or to register, visit: