This Way of Touching

by Isabelle Shepherd

the games we
play on our screens
create a world without
casualties if I hit
you smoke
pixelates nothing
more it’s not
a violence this way
of touching on
the radio talk
of bombings collapsed
underground tunnels
911 calls & bodies
burning while we
listen we do not
touch sometimes
we learn things
like this it’s rare
but sometimes a
baby’s heart will
grow outside
its body & after birth
doctors tuck
its beating back
into the body
beneath a blanket
of skin we learn
the child will need
so many more
surgeries to push
her heart deeper
inside her chest &
will wear a protective
plastic shield for
the rest of her
abbreviated life
when the segment
ends you ask me
to look up how
it’s done how they
keep the world
from touching
the heart