Kate Puxley, Untitled (from The Hunting Lodge), 2016
Mixed media
6” x 8”


When my girl made her earthside entrance,
her first act was to shit on my doughy stomach.

Birth, that glistening verb, made a weak heart of me—
all my nerve emptied into this peachy, wax-coated creature,

soft spots naked to the world. How can I describe the frailty
of the newly emptied mother?

For hours at a time, I strapped my eyes to the winks of her knees
and elbows—in love, surely, but in horror, too. Every cry

was met by the vulnerability of milk—gold milk, then cream, then milk
pale as an egg, dripping milk, then streaming,

elementally pouring milk, milk exploding like a flock of bleached crows
from an overpass. Months, I shuddered about the house in sopping

blouses, breasts hard as unripe fruit, shuffling past pale onesies
caked in waste and dishes gathering flies. By night,

I abandoned tops all together, a loose Lady Godiva in tears.
Somewhere in this scene was my husband, bleary-eyed

in sleepless oblivion, peering at me with his tongue poised at the roof
of his mouth, as if he were always almost finding the right way

to ask his strange wife who she is. If he’d have, I might have joked,
“an all-night diner,” or, I might’ve grabbed him by the orange beard,

asked him to milk me, pour me a bourbon.

Kate Click