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Joanna Hollins

Christ beside me, Christ before me
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me…[1]


And so to praying: Adam’s hand
to the Father stretches,
measured point of lines
and modelling:

my ballet teacher
tilts back my chin,
(feel, girls: the thread
from you to the ceiling).

But from this line we pull
away from touching: taught
space expands, atoms repel,
lovers shout in separate rooms.

And everything is charged
and changing. A timid Adam,
I learn touch by making shapes
around myself, and feel

ribboning words turning
in my chest, at the level
where place is un-notable

and prayer is the untouchable
kicking back against the tips
of my fingers.


[1] from St Patrick’s Breastplate, as it is written on


Joanna Hollins studied MA Poetry at UEA, and is published in the 2016 UEA MA Creative Writing Anthology

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