Before

Walk nude through the house,
holding a breast in each hand,
feeling their liquid weight shift
as you walk; feeling, 
as you lift them up, 
that you are young again,
that they are at once your children
and yourself; knowing
that these companions rise and fall
in solidarity with you; that you
may have to give them up
one by one
to save yourself;
that they will be sacrificed,
these flowing solids,
these kissing stations,
these secret reservoirs,
for you; knowing
that you will keen for them
as for lost children, feel the guilty
weight of blood money.
Walk naked through the house, 
hold them now as you might cherish
your old parents,
your memories of youth:
ask forgiveness, be reconciled, 
before they go.

– from Sharon Cumberland Greatest Hits 1985-2000
Pudding House Publications

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