(originally published in Stirring: A Literary Collection)
The Conductress of Milk
I am a conduit, pure liquid medium.
It is like bleeding, I prostrate myself
to her lips, lay low while she sends
eloquent messages with her tiny, velvety hands,
her eyes dreaming, smiling. At 3 a.m.
she has the strength of a legend.
She grasps her own thumbs tightly
while she sucks on me. There is pain,
but not too much. I hew roads
through this darkness, telling her how one day
we will visit Paris, leaning over the old
sandstone edge of my favorite bridge
across the Seine. The passage exhausts,
yet chronicles how time can stand still,
how the illusion of eternity creates its own value.
I feel like an impostor — only the fact I’m lactating
convinces me I’m her mother. How quickly
she goes from one emotional state to the next —
she can be fussing one second and smiling
to herself the next. The silkiness of her cheek,
slick with spilt milk, is like angelwings.
She kicks her legs out straight while nursing,
moves her hands and arms like Leonard Bernstein
conducting — she moves her head for emphasis,
sometimes pulling back on the breast,
stretching the nipple. She smacks her lips,
then pops off and lets go.
She looks up at me, wide-eyed, but soon
drops off into a very pleasant looking
milk-sucking stupor, a milky drunkenness,
a milk-sucking intoxication. No wonder
we all ache for drugs afterward.