A Poem by Dorothea Lasky

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Milking the rest of it

Turn the faucet on
Turn the breast on
Emptied completely of milk
With the tiny hoses in a row
Emptied of when the ships were she
Child of my heart
A dull ache and then
No pain at all
When the muzzle found my mouth
To not let the milk form a crust
Of ice and sugar
On the nipple
And to put the cap on it
Emptied of
The ships where she
Eight tiny roses in a row
Where water goes in
The greenish water
Where the saints
Can grow
You know some will tell you
No you’re already happy
But the trap of your life
Is that you’re trapped in this body
And even though you search
For twenty to eighty years for the demon
In other people
Turn the faucet on
And look in the mirror
The demon
Is you

Dull milk
Aching out the little faucets
In your nipple
To go nowhere
There’s no baby
There’s no mother
Just an endless hallway
Of fear upon fear
Neverending tinted roses
All in a row
The lavender water
We sip on a chilly day
Before we go
On our way
Six tiny horsemen
In moon suits
Leading us not to the promised land
But to a box
Where our reward for surviving this mess
Is to die and then forget
And inside the box
The greatest tormenter of them all
She’s there
To hang you by the teeth
And say
There’s no baby
There’s no mother
Ice cold and stiff
And hewed
Me and you
Except thank fully for me
Goodbye hello
Milky one
I’m gone
I’m home
I’m gone
Except thankfully for she
Goodbye milk
Hello love
Nice to meet you tiny faucet
Hello milk
Goodbye milk
Goodbye life
Hello life
Goodbye hello
All of it
Death and more death
Goodbye where they roast
The people in the urn
Where they shut the oven door
Before the baby can get out
Help help
I feel the curse
Burning my baby
The dull milk ache
Oh the pain the oak
No no
Goodbye pain

Dorothea Lasky’s most recent book is ROME (Liveright/W.W. Norton).

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.