Dusk of a barn made thick by rain.
Curtained eyes, a boy’s squall faint in her ear,
dry lips press, flaked skin on blood;
the sting, she jumps, quick tremor of her elbow.
Blanket-- half flannel, half dirt-- hung
(her clutch a fruitless fist upon the cloth)
around her shoulders as she strains,
tilts her head to hear his plea: “He need soup,
milk. You folks got money to git milk?”
Hair matted to a fevered face, she struggles up.
She moves on legs infirm as the barn walls,
lays her body, pulls the whiskered waning man close.
Her breast: swollen, longing, wellspring unsprung;
her whispers curl like counter-winds. Ma looks on,
murmurs, “I knowed you would, I knowed.”