Issue Two,

Autumn 2020

STREET LIFE

Rachel Bates

Poetry

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

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