Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Engorged

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The nurse on call with British accent
repeats over the phone: "Cup them in cabbage."

Because it's Sunday, because they're beastly
hot and lumpy, because they're veined and rutted

as a cantaloupe's rind, you go to the fridge. You cry
when the baby cries, then override the urge

to run, pressing that little purple set of lips against
your fissured, dripping nipple. The toothless gums

clamp down, drawing milk, a little blood,
in the stinging rush of letdown, which in turn turns

some part of you you thought you lost at the birth,
furred with gobs of plum, unmoored like a pit

or a cheek bitten into, sore, salty, you long
to lick with your tongue but cannot reach. That nurse,

when the baby finally sleeps, has long since gone home.
How did she know? How did the cabbage know, cold

white spines and pale green, waxen leaves as wrinkled,
as damp, as the tiny fingers curled around your thumb.


Recent poems by Tania Pryputniewicz appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review and Linebreak; her cover art and an essay appeared in Labor Pains and Birth Stories (Catalyst Press, 2009). She documents the dual process of mothering and writing at Feral Mom, Feral Writer and has work live or forthcoming at The Fertile Source, Salome Magazine, The Mom Egg, Empire Report, and Tiny Lights. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she keeps her laptop in the kitchen and lives in the California redwoods with her husband, three children, and five feral cats.


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Wow, this poem really brought back memories! Lovely!
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