For mothers sending children into the world
A mother’s milk doesn’t trickle in
in the hours after her newborn slips
out of her body.
Her breasts don’t fill slowly to meet the need.
Her infant’s suckle does not call forth
A gentle swelling.
The filling is sudden,
an explosion of heat and electricity.
She is standing in the shower
in the few moments that have been hers since she became
someone else’s mother,
and in a rush of pulsing suddenness, milk is dripping from her nipples,
mingling with the water from her shower
and slipping down her still-swollen belly.
Shocking ache and need spread with heat
and she marvels as she hastens to dry herself.
Her every, only thought is on her baby.
And as she finds relief in the release
of her milk in her child’s tiny mouth
Does it all have to feel so violent?
The pain of birth, the explosion in her breasts,
The soaked sheets and the night sweats?
The way her infant seems to have called every pore in her body
to pour forth
as she answers a primal, biological call.
Perhaps it is practice
her body knowing the pain to come
as she is raising her child in a world
where violence converges sharply
A world where sheets and alphabet rugs
where mouths don’t mean to be greedy
but their bellies are so empty,
and mothers weep in showers.
Their only thoughts are on their babies
as they long for the days when
their arms were enough
where the milk in their breasts was enough
to keep their children alive.
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