Topless at the office like a scandal, I stand otherwise constructed: trousers, polished black shoes, hair a neat crop, the reds of my face muted by beige smear. My affair here is with a machine. I’ll soon hook up with plastic trumpets, turn on my motor, get milked for a baby forty minutes away. But it’s this bare moment before that stuns me, dangling bra-less like half of me is made for spring break gone primal, the other half will write a memo. Is this what it means to be a mother? The self split in two, like the body in labor? Or is this just the tear in humanity, even as we shoulder-pad our denial: always tugging us back to the garden, to the beginning, which wears the same clothing as the end?
3 replies on “Pumping Milk”
Thank you! Three babies and working straight through always made me think about a juggling act and not a pull towards “the garden”… Your image creates space for hope, that we continue to think about how to support mothers in a work environment.
This poem captures so deftly how split-in-two a working mom feels, half “gone primal” while “the other half will write a memo.” Bravo!
Beautiful images of the holding together of opposites in the mother’s body. The exercise in dichotomy and fusion as the smelting pot that gets pulled back to the beginning by the magnet of creation is powerful.