by Hattie Scott
Noli me tangere, was the title of the portrait
which provocatively posed
next to a sign that said ‘do not touch’,
the type of sign that makes you want to touch it.
I gazed up at the painting transfixed
by the urge to know its texture.
Would Titian want me to touch it?
Touched by it surely? She seems touched by him,
on the ground crawling as a creature
of desire in a perpetual state of longing,
so much so that her eyes don’t even follow me.
I feel an impulse to free her, erase her body from the glass
with one of those giant rubbers that say ‘FOR BIG MISTAKES’.
If only I could hold her hand, let her stand,
guide her from beneath the shade of that praying tree,
snake up the hill through the streets of Venice,
resurrect her barefoot in the markets so she could
exchange inconspicuous glances and be embraced by night
satiating the lust for the promise of angelic light.
After an endless stream of evenings, night could be disrobed.
Noli me tangere, Jesus glares down at me
as I touch the glass and, as if by miracle,
I feel Magdalene tap my back.