He lived on IV fluids for months.
Even the smallest trace of milk
caused him to vomit blood. They
told me to keep pumping, how good
it would be for his system if he could
ever tolerate food. And in this distorted
dream-world, I let it be my mother-love
(the grief and the milk both in endless supply),
a way to express something even if
the pots of ink were white.
I didn’t see it until later, like in a dream
that unfolds after waking, but you were there
doing this: taking the bottles of milk in the night
when I pumped them, or in the day, pouring them
off into meal-apportioned bottles — so careful not
to spill — and with black ink registering
the day and the hour of our love,
so that now, when I stand at the freezer,
I see row after row of our duet of prayer and elegy
stored against the day when he would live.
Ginger Hanchey is a lecturer in the English Department at Baylor University, where she specializes in Old English poetics. Her first poetry collection, Letters of a Long Name, is set to be published in July 2019 by Finishing Line Press. She has poems published in Nashville Review, Tar River Poetry, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere.