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Issue Two,

Autumn 2020


Rachel Bates


To tire the mind you must first tire the body

Aspiring agoraphobe, the fox and

the midnight cat welcome me into
the dark. Leaving home should not be


a reckless act. Buttered tarmac
tempts, makes decisions I cannot
to narrow or swerve in hairpins.


This is the lesson of the night.

I am somehow initiated

so I do not step on any snails


but imagine the crunch as I spiral

into cursive mythlines. Leaves
rot as the body rots, reflects,


appearing clearer in nature’s
mirror. Tonight, the moon
is more metal than we thought:


she knows nothing can harm you
like your own mind. When sweet earth
opens, greet its kindness holistically.


Orange streetlamp excruciates:

a manufactured sunrise at tunnel’s end.

The stars switch themselves off.

Touching Touch

Cheek brushing cheek
is essential


hands squeezing shoulders
essential sense


these warming loves
melt, missed


social distance dances
between bodies


measuring space – dictating

haptic hazards


like double yellow lines

and red stop signs.


We must wait and wash

cover mouths


and wash and wait again

wave our hugs


and blink our kisses

with patience


brush paint on chapel

ceilings, bring marble


for carving muscle,

tune strings


smoothed with resin for

orchestral embrace


renaissance of touch

is budding

Quince Logo 500

Rachel Bates’ poems explore nature, nurture and the elusive tension between them. She is interested in the concept that poetry is language dreaming itself. Her poem ‘Privilege’ has been published in Kinda Ok’s Grow ‘n Pains zine. Based in Nottinghamshire, you can often find her fawning over dogs on Instagram: @rachelloisbates

QUINCE magazine

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