A poem about breastfeeding.
Five days ago, I gave birth. Great intimacy follows the birth of a baby. Much time is spent establishing a bond of closeness and breastfeeding regularity. The bodies of mother and child must find a new synchronization.
This poem – the first I’ve written since welcoming my new son into the world – is about that physical, emotional, and instinctual effort.
The Giving Take Bessie, Bossie, Bonnie Blue, Fussy, Flossie, Fannie Sue, I see you through the doily leaves along your mossy clean-picked path up around the hill to home. See me here? I walk below beside the road with baby wrapped against my chest so taut, my breasts, impacted from the milk his drowsy mouth neglects. Barnyard-bound, you low and file, udders swinging overfull. I am going that way, too, to see your farmer’s wife, the closest nurse and kindly mother hand who may offer her advice. I see your utters clear from here, freckle-specked from last night’s rain pinkly tender glossy fresh mud-pocked from your stamping field, where wet-petaled kissing pasture flowers tease and tickle memories of calves and make you dumb with longing. You’ll beat me rounding high up there, and by the time I reach the gate your morning march will beckon them into their clean-kept yard and they will take my presence unsurprised, I hope, and help me not to ask for help. Fussy, I watch you stop to nip at buds and dutchmen’s breeches in the trim and Bossie butts you as she ought – move, move on sweet sleep-warm friends, our farmer father keeper love is booting up to milk us clean – you listen to your older sister now. She walks in back not because you know the way back better but to keep you true to line. I hear your cello-talk, rich and to yourselves, stirring interest from baby now to wake and take a nipping sip between my undone buttons and though I wince I wince with gratitude in my skin hot to the touch and pulsing thin, that this resolves itself by way of precious open baby mouth and sudden suckles to now commence. The slightest nuzzle stirs within these tight-topped breasts desire for the giving take you, too, body habit-instinct seek within your cat-thronged barn, the selfish suction pull relief taking what must be given. I know you now you poor dear cows, for now I know myself – I falter-waver in the road, halt midstride, and must decide to turn around or go – for with a latch the urgent urge compressing me proceeds along its inner paths with centrifugal pull, oh, please, and works into my baby’s mouth. Bessie, Bossie, Bonnie Blue, Fussy, Flossie, Fannie Sue, rounding down now out of sight, see me here? But no. You go on lowing, absorbed in barn-bound thought, distressed without a language for it. I hear you go sound-lost into the hillside pour, last night’s rain still marbling round, trickling, rolling, letting down cleavage-softening inside the porous limestone maze to spill, artesian, out at last a million milky mountain pearls in giving, endless spray.
This poem will be among a future collection of poems. If you enjoyed it, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing one of my new collections in paperback or Kindle format. You can find them all on my Amazon author page.
Thank you, always, for reading.