The Pump

I have trouble expressing, stuck
with the machine and not
clutch-holding you. We are too immediate, still,
and I can’t conjure you just thinking, not enough
to start the flow, to make it visible.
You are not here. The breast knows that.

This machine makes milk count, presents me with
a challenge, another gold star Mum. You don’t count
at all, I sometimes think. I can’t yet put you in
this many hours and this much time and space.

I have trouble expressing, now; my words don’t rush,
don’t trickle, even. I’m not stopping them –
sometimes I’d be grateful for a mess,
a spray, a leakage, anything but this
remorseless pull of the machine,
and in the near distance your first cry as you wake.

I can’t express
myself without you; is that all it is?
I’m dried up, or you drain me.