In a theatre of green sanitized people
you lay blocked into submission,
screened from the red-soaked gauzes
piled like sandbags round your belly.
‘Is she alive?’ you asked me,
your eyes crushed with disbelief.
Four days later (your milk
still oozy droplets of yellow)
I watched the pain raid your face
as you softly trod the cobblestones
in our street, sunlit puddles
of mud steaming like butter-rich stew.
Driven by moon tides, your baby
(all ribs and thin flesh,
her navel clipped in pink plastic)
lurched blindly to your swollen nipple.
Your eyes, blue as stars
blazed gently on her artless fumbles.
When morning yawned we huddled
like hostages, her tiny breathings
captured beneath soft blankets.
Pillow-propped, you offered her your milk.
I caught the heft of your sigh
as she suckled to the lick of your flow.