I wake beside my mother as she huddles
the new baby from the cot.
Blankets lift. Cool air stuns my skin;
the room a half-light of buttery-yellow.
She shakes the tartan-blue flask
before pouring the formula, slow milky flow
puffing a dawn-breath of vapour.
She holds the bottle to the light, studies the measure,
eyes narrowed like the very meaning of lost
woman and child;
the memory of my virgin mouth
latched to her nipple, still latched there,
she and I womb to womb.
Mauve mound of my gums,
silken crimson dome of the soft palate,
my heat—all a vaulted room that rouses her
first bleed of milk, the sap of her a lake
out of which she rises, welcomed
into the heartbeat tempo of the world;
the rune of me undone by my tongue’s code—
a soul announced to her
soul in how I suck, like a knowing kiss between strangers;
and somewhere between draw and swallow,
or how my fingers weave at her breast or what pervades
from my palms’ pores, she fathoms me as her dreamy one.
The bottle glints grey in the half-light
as she takes the dull-honey teat in her mouth, lips
suctioned around it—not sucking but tonguing
a kiss-feed of her saliva; aboriginal
now as she rocks her open-eyed child,
soft grunts popping from her throat.