Touching Harms the Art – by Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi

Carved walnut table enfolded by
eighteen curved chairs, awaits an
unwrapping feast; beauty preserved
inside the Mingei museum, tiny
sign upon it: touching harms the art.
Fingers could glide along inlays,
trace light grain, dark grain, feel
knots, pulse of tree, carver, creator.
Oil of hands could massage in luster
unlike this polish sealed in thin wax.
Touching also chances fingernail
scratches, nicks from rings, deep
thumb prints; humans being fallible
in their admiration. Crafted care
could enhance chance, trust, touch;
mend the jaded who wear the invisible,
much seen sign: touching harms the heart.


Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi is the author of Eye Whispers, a poetry collection about surviving cancer, the Army, and other life challenges. She is published in numerous journals and anthologies in print and online. She received an ESME award for her sonnet to her daughter, Jennifer Marie.