Touching by Rachel Tanaka

I let my fingers lie on my body
like my fingers are a sack of wooden stamps:
delicate and foreign and someone else’s.
I let my body lie under my fingers
like my body is a field of tidepools:
jagged, and damp, and a home to many things.
I do this over and over: each object
becoming another object.
Baby bamboo shoots lie on the sidewalk.
An owl’s nest lies under a basket of seeds.
I am nothing but variable and variable touching.
Abstraction introducing abstraction
as an extension of each other.
When I meet myself like this
every lagoon curdles—
does not like me growing accustomed to me.
Let it be known that I keep it in mind:
how much I am a woman.
All the fruit went overripe and fell.
Nothing smells worse than a rotting mango—
yet here I am, digging it a grave.
Perfect pocket of soil for a misshapen thing.
The sugary heart made from the earth
fits into the earth.
Like the flight of saffron finches
shifting in Bermuda grass
Like the puddle of rain pulsing
under fallen sapodilla.


Rachel lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two of her poems are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest. She
is a graduate from Creighton University where she studied English and Education. Her current
hobby is checking to see if her fiddle-leaf fig, Cabbage, sprouted any new leaves.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.