Tag Archives: nursing

She Hates Numbers

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while jenny laughs, a poem

illustration while jenny laughs hawks illustration while jenny laughs nursing mother

While Jenny Laughs
(originally published in Earth’s Daughters)

While Jenny laughs,
two large brown hawks
ride the currents,
swirling over our heads
like the occasional
dreams we’ve had

of flying — she and I
agree on this. She
raises her blouse
to nurse her son.
His wispy curls are moving
lazily in the air, too,

his tender scalp
the color of a ripe peach,
and as he nurses she
kisses his hand.
Since I cut my hair
short, she says,

people keep mistaking me
for a man. Her smooth
face is perfectly
symmetrical, her cheekbones
high pirouettes of pale
skin, lightly flushed and

freckled by the quick
heat of early summer.
I would never, ever,
mistake you for a man,
I say, and as her milk
flows into the baby’s

mouth she laughs again,
her high voice turning
into notes of clear amber
bells. Look at the hawks
one more time, I tell her,
and so, to please me, she does.



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the conductress of milk, a poem


(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.


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