Jan 27 • 2M

The Birth of Insufficiency

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Amy Isikoff Newell
Episode details
The Birth of Insufficiency

My milk came in hard and fast,
my breasts ballooning 
into solid porn-star frankensteins,
blue veins sticking out all over.
I had to pump before I could nurse,
because a newborn can’t latch
on to a cantaloupe, however
warm and milk-scented it may be.
I slept on towels and woke up soaked
in sour. My ducts clotted up 
with infection, my mind with fever.
The midwives sent antibiotics
and a doula, who gave me 
a bath and put cabbage
leaves inside my bra. I listened
to the bris over the baby monitor,
too sick to eat the pickled fish
and watch my son be cut, too
sick to say a prayer for him. 

Years ago, now. But I am here still:
monstrous and ineffectual and ill, 
listening to my children crying from the other room.

-- Amy Isikoff Newell, July 2014