Even though I am not a mother, I found something here. To the women who bore us, thank you.
RootingWhen the child tore out of me, I roared.
It ended. The midwife lay him on my empty belly. Skin on skin, he bobbed his head along my chest.
The instinct is rooting, foot over foot, mouth unhinged. Millions of years,
the new born hunt for mother, for milk. In the bed, later, I straddled ice.
My husband said, You look beautiful. You look like a mother. Years before,
in a slum, I clutched bread to my chest then released it to the children near.
Naive, I expected a happy few mouths filled, a tender thank you. How to know the mass
that gathered, the manic shredding, shoving, the screams. Their bodies crawled on hands
and knees for crumbs. They clawed, swallowed. Weeks later, back home, I picked at my burrito.
A friend said, You look older, sadder. Months into this one’s life, I nurse
on the couch. My body keeps his living. Your face has changed, my husband says.
He smiles. He doesn’t say it’s longer, it bears more. He doesn’t say, Look
at all you’ve carried, Look at how you’ve filled yourself and built this life,
Look what you’ve born, what you’ve poured out. Beautiful, he says. How to feed a child
without alteration? We all root, foot over foot toward the nourished hope. We all are blind,
fumbling by scent, by touch. Children break free from us.
We do as we must. We feed them.