The Wet Nurse

by Julie Eliopoulos

Julie Eliopoulos’s poetry has previously appeared in CV2, EVENTThe New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, Room and Vallum. She lives in Milton, Ontario.

1. The Wet Nurse Speaks

Undeliverable. You were
stuck, in the inner sanctum, not winged

but subterranean. There was no extracting
the sliver of your body and your mother

suffered nightmares, night sweats, nightwalking,
felt an aberration in her mind, a mutation.

She dreamt of the metallurgy of torture
and said her daughter would become a detective,

examine the hormonal drippings,
as she, momentarily, slipped out of her life.

 

2. The Mother Speaks, as a Witness

She fed you for me,
brushed by a spider plant,

and you cried for her, not me.
A tusk of milk

thrust out from her.
I could not sleep then,

or if I did I had the nightmare
over and over again.

My brow wet, lips chapped,
and she was there,

scuff marks on the wood,
so I knew she was there,

that was the proof,
evidence.

 

3. The Detective Speaks about her Dead Wet Nurse

This wet nurse is dried up.
Crushed bone is her postmortem milk.

My knees are blanched patches.
I know blizzards, outlines of chalk,

unnerving trails, crystals, slack bags
and wintry fingerprints. Dehydrated apples

remind me of her deathbed, how she looked tarnished,
too often touched. Where to put her?

Maybe she would do well beside a ceramic dish.
I dream of an avalanche, her ashes

flying down, no longer sweet,
a torrent of salt.

 


Julie Eliopoulos’s poetry has previously appeared in CV2, EVENTThe New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, Room and Vallum. She lives in Milton, Ontario.

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