Means

I’m on the phone with the sixth nurse, newly discharged.

The past weeks witnessed frantic dispatches for aid via email and helpline,

while the whoosh and suck of the electric pump

Coaxes Canaan’s bounty from my damaged right breast.

My son lays in his father’s arms,

And greedily receives sustenance that my body cannot provide.

Our circle is broken, and I mourn the unnatural rift in this natural process.

Each greeting begins: “Congratulations, momma!”

and ends with, “…enjoy your precious babe,”

and my body’s screams for healing

Drown in twee wishes and sentiment.

Who advocates for the vessel

once she bears her cargo into a new world?

Who mends her battered hull while the sun shines

on the shiny, pink thing, squalling like the storm

they weathered together on the open sea?

I, and I alone, trace the lines of the stitch

That binds me to myself

looking to fix severed connections

Like a ranch hand mends a Texas fence.

I received your message:

Mothers are warriors, heroes, saints

Aloft on a pedestal of words,

A pedestal erected in lieu

of the support withheld.

I am the means to an end.

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