The Ghost of a Touch

I pick up the radio.
Where my thumb always goes has left a dirty mark
and if repeated often enough and long enough,
it would wear down the surface metal
like the action of centuries of feet
across a stone threshold, or hands on a stained cupboard door,
the touching presence of ghosts.

(I have often wondered why the successive glare of headlights
shouldn’t leave some lasting mark on a village wall;
but such is light that I suppose
it exerts no friction.
There’s a small disappointment in that.)

Is the same true, I wonder, of your skin?
If I visit the same place often enough and long enough,
would I not leave some small trace,
the tiniest, faintest wearing away of the epidermis,
a sign of my repeated presence there,
the gentle impression of my skin on your skin?

In years to come, thousands of years hence,
the forensic anthropologists would examine
the evidence, the rock-painted signature of my touch,
stroke their beards and nod:
“Someone was here”.

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