The kindest thing anyone ever did
was powder my breasts.
I don’t remember her face or how she moved,
or even the sponge bath she gave me beforehand,
just a vague sense of her obesity and blackness,
of her own big knockers.
She moved silently among my watery world,
one without eyesight or hearing,
but full of shadowy blinds and serums,
of soft-soled shoes,
of sodium veins and sucrose on cotton.
She must have come from the nurses’ halls
that were farsighted and strange
with the science fiction of maternity.
She must have come while early summer
blew its jazz and beach sand
down the lamp-lit road below.
She must have known that the woman in 12A
was a sinking ship with a hole in the prow,
a pile of jettisoned mutton,
too sick to study the violin of his week-old cries
and sniff the baby gorillaness of his skin,
and what that did to the lace of a mother’s heart,
which was snagged on the polyester ties
of open-backed gowns
and the needles of left-sided confinement,
and trapped in the glassy oxygen
of congratulatory flowers and the dew of pity.
I must have consented,
and that was just what I needed,
flecks of white talcum
awakening into baby blue snow
in the amber of the early evening sun,
a quick patting on the top and sides and underneath,
a gesture not unlike oiled palms on Sunday dough,
reminding me that that those two rockets
were made to blast off
into a new world of readiness,
to drip with love and self-sacrifice.
Jenny Kasza is an editor/proofreader in Milwaukee, WI. She is blessed with one loving son (Cassius), a devoted husband (Joel), and a really cute dog (Stinkerbelle).