Last night, a baby cried

outside my window and I knew

I should be holding it.

I was pretty sure

she was talking to me, my own baby

a thousand miles away,

grown hazy, not as clear

as the music from the courtyard.

I brought the hand pump

in my backpack and it took all day

to draw an ounce.

My baby and I are near the end.

It’s no one’s fault—each day

I have less to give,

less milk, I mean.

There’s a magnet in me—

it’s just a metaphor, so it’s OK

that the pull is stronger

over distance. Let me return

to that baby in the courtyard,

to its terrible music

and how I wanted to go

to her, give to her.

And I cried a little, the way

mothers cry, and catch it,

and place it in smallest mouths,

so this morning there was a glass of it,

of milk—what the body repels

as it pulls the other to us.

The world is dense with hunger.

Sometimes I have to pull his fist

from my baby’s mouth

just to feed him,

and I am mindful that hunger for some

is a fist that never stops

being a fist. What I’m trying to say

is I couldn’t dump that milk.

For the baby in the courtyard,

for my baby, for all

the babies, I drank it down.







Photo by Wade Kelly