• Amber Shockley

Milk

Forgive me, I’ve been feeling dead for a while now.

There are oranges in the bowl. They rot.

I replace them. My husband doesn’t notice.


He thinks I am the same fresh girl. Though,

he teases me my sagging backside. His fingers

at the curve. Always asking


for breakfast. Cracked eggs. Forgive me,

yolk. Life once was. I end

a phone call with my mother. I walk


into the grocery store with that fresh-hearted

pang that comes from hard words to

someone you love, someone who loves


you, loved you, over and over again,

with a washcloth when you were sour

and rotten, replacing blankets and towels,


fresh, round and warm from the dryer,

its lullaby hum. At the store, a frost

forms on the glass, stocked cartons of milk


chilled inside buzzing machines.

Dates stamped in black, a calf’s little

tombstone to its mother, each one.


* "Calves of dairy cows are generally separated from their mothers within the first 24 hours after birth. The majority of the milk thus enters the food market and not the stomachs of the calves." - Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior, ScienceDaily.com, 28 April 2015.

© 2020 by Amber Shockley.