Wean, or One Afternoon My Breast Blooms Bright as a Poppy—

by Emily Patterson

an unshapely copy of itself. 
I shiver over the sink, 
coaxing milk, pink and viscous, 

until slowly, slowly, the pain 
unwinds—relief like a fever 
breaking. Only later can I trace

the thread of this to your taste,
your changing need for less
from me—this ritual, deeply ours, 

once an answer to every need, 
receding without warning. 
Only then do I grieve and give

thanks, as a mother does,
as light leaves the late 
October sky, as the nights 

change their shape
to make way for winter, 
as they always do.

Emily Patterson is a curriculum designer, poet, and mother. Her work appears in Minerva Rising, Literary Mama, The Sunlight Press, Oyster River Pages, Sheila-Na-Gig, Anti-Heroin Chic, Mothers Always Write, and elsewhere. Her chapbook So Much Tending Remains is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. 


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