In a dream my nipples have been cut
open along the seams of my areola. A perfect dark circle,
the cavern of my breast. There, against the rims
clings a white paste, dried-up milk.
Elation. I have it in me after all.
I grab my baby and cup the back of her head,
pull her in the direction of the dark holes,
the matured milk. Perhaps now she’ll drink from me.
But her whimper turns into a hiss.
And I can’t stand it, that sound of dismissal.
I wake up wet all over. Slip my hand under my shirt,
pull at my elastic nipple, to make sure
it’s still attached. There is a knock
lodged in my throat. A bark. A bellow. If it was
the sound of her moaning, I’d know how to console.
Push her away from my chest, give her a bottle instead.
Shush, little mother. There are tiny bones glowing
through your gums, and now is the time to rub them.