My breasts are stones.
I lie in the bath and they
do not move,
do not give way gently, flattening out,
nipples soft puddles
They are all stiff, tender bruise.
They press heavy into my armpits
into my soft belly
as if trying to take the place of what was there
I cannot even lift a shirt from the laundry.
I clench fistfuls of socks,
Tiny drops bead on my nipples
fall like tears
all I was meant to give—
slides down my belly
drips onto the floor.
I thought they would give me medication to dry up my milk
to spare me this
But there is no magic prescription.
and cabbage leaves.
I pull them from the head, freeze them.
They cup my breasts,
press the pattern of ribs and veins into my flesh,
slowly cook from my heat
I reek of cabbage
and for days
I cannot wash the smell out of my bras.
Between cabbage applications
we tie bags of frozen peas to my breasts
I wrap my arms around them
invite the coldness deeper
Each day the swelling lessens,
and the icing, and binding, and cabbage leaves.
Stone melts back to flesh.
But still my nipples burn in turns,
a searing, scraping,
a sharp intake of breath,
And still they weep.
© Burning Eye