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.