- Publisher: Slow Loris Press; Pittsburgh, PA
- ISBN: 0-918366-17-8
- Published: February 15, 1980
The goat comes to me in a dream of families.
I bring her hay and grain and water warmed against
the March air, pull the first, thick, yellow milk
from under her until it flows in hot pints into the pail.
…my breasts are swollen. I don’t know how. The baby is frantic
for food and my body will not let down. my son tastes salt in his milk,
hears a new pulse, cries and sucks.
Head at her flank, listening to her complicated digestion
move like unfamiliar scales, I bring down the milk: thumb
and forefinger circled at the top of the teat to stop the flow
backward into the udder, sucking down with three fingers
and palm. I squat in the hay of her stall,
…he pushes at me. I give him more. He sings in his sleep.
After the last milk squirts into the pail, there is more.
Nudge the udder. There is more and it is the sweetest
and richest. Strip out the milk and the goat will give more
next time. Strip her dry.
… I wake to his need. Crying brings me out of sleep; crying
pulls me out of half-finished dreams. I am reluctant. My milk is sour.
It is early. I am milking the goat and looking at the maple
red with spring. It is early. I am nursing the baby and looking out
gray windows. The letters of my name are spelled in milk. Milk
is the perfume I wear.
The letters of my name spell a constellation.
No one will set a course by any of its stars.
At a deepening
of the Isinglass River
I lie down in stones and tea-colored water.
I think: be careful. Do not say
home. The bones
of that word mend slowly.