Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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A plastic shield sucks my breast. I am a milk machine.
Between phone calls, frozen food, forms, and emails, I feel the twinge of pain. The plastic won't conform. Not like your lips -- soothing, warm. Not with your bite, cunning, sharp. I cringe at once-firm breasts now fallen, drooping, into a cup. I resent the pump, the plastic that deforms. It is getting late. My work waits.

Then I think of you.

Your breathy pants of want. Your coy, side-smile while suckling when my thumb makes you giggle. Your dribble, gurgle-milk sliding from your mouth onto my pillow-belly. The way you pinch me, test for juice.

Your eyes. Endless, staring. Your thank-you eyes. No bottom, no surface.

I think of you and pump as work piles on my desk, as guilt piles in my heart for chores undone. For the house unclean, dishes and clothes unwashed, beds unmade. For the husband, who feels unloved. For the mothering I cannot do, for you, who are not here. For the poems, out of tune, because I'd rather hum to you.

For the self so split that my liquids trickle out...

One breast emptied. But there is not enough. One bottle not-quite filled, one more to pump.

Shubha Venugopal has two beautiful children– a toddler daughter and an infant son. She will soon be moving with her children and her husband to Los Angeles to teach at the California State University, Northridge. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan and works as an Assistant Professor of Literature. She is also currently completing her M.F.A. in fiction at Bennington College. Her works have appeared or are upcoming in elimae, Eclectica, Mslexia, Kalliope, Women Writers, and Boston Literary Magazine. Most of her works in these journals appear, or will appear, online.

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