The Touch

The Touch

If a child fell from a tree, or raved
with fever, or a father came in hurt
from the fields, I was the one who raced
down the roads to the far side of the town,
to the house by the river, glad
of the chance to pass one more time
through the high clanking gates
into the avenue that would slow me

to a crunching walk under the dark,
cher-cherking, rook-swaying canopy.
It never took more than the one
rat-a-tat-tat to bring to the door
the doctor’s wife whose briskly gentle hands
once fixed my collar as I stood in the rain.

Tom Duddy
(Published in Smiths Knoll)