Put a hat on that baby, she says, but it’s
not very cold and we’re only here for
bread and bananas and I know what he needs,
don’t I, I want to say, like you must have known
with your babies, whimpering for the milk
that leaked from you always, gulping
and gulping, then spitting up
down your shirt, in your neck crease, so
day-in, day-out you smelled like thick sweet
milk and sour clumped milk and also like
home, like comfort. Which could be what you’re
offering me. Snappish words to fold me in,
a code of kinship. Maybe you’re saying, I know
you are blurry on the edges. Wade through.
But is it a stream or a river or the wide ocean
I have to ford? Because it makes a difference,
and holding a baby tips your gravity.
I want to ask if that’s what she meant,
but she’s gone with her groceries and I’m
here, sweet and sour both, with a baby
who might be cold. And I still need bread
and bananas because we’re always out of
something. Today it’s bread and bananas.
Tomorrow it will be something else.
Abbie Kiefer's poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Coal City Review, and other publications. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and sons.