Issue Forty-Two - Summer 2023

Mother Milk

By Mer Monson

Sons are not often carved
in the cashmere shape of tenderness,
but still, he reaches out his arms
at least once a day—-
a long hug, sometimes longer,
as though he is quenching a thirst
for swallows of milk
I did not give him

seventeen years ago.
I wanted to be a good mother,
but memory of razor pain
stopped me—
nipples, bloody and cracked
from his older brother’s
failure to latch,
fire in the swollen underside

of my right fleshy milk jug,
the clench of muscle each time
he wanted nourishment.
So this time, I took a left turn,
kept my breasts to myself,
cuddled this earth-kindled flesh
with a smoother mind—-
the patch of silk on his

forehead, the way his eyes
poured sky into mine,
the weight of a thousand tendrils
of play and light he would become,
resting on my unmarred chest.
His arms now wrapped around me,
nuzzling for milk stains in my neck,
I fight the dreaded thought,

He’s too old for this.

Copyright 2023 Monson