After the painting The Massacre of the Innocents by Léon Cogniet
Once we cradled close in the corner of our room,
folded like prayer-hands, while you nursed.
Your hair feathered my cheek as I sang you sleep-soft,
borne on waves of warm milk to silken slumber.
In the quiet dark, our breaths synced to one heartbeat,
as in the months before I bore you from me.
Then that evil day. Cornered in crumbled rock,
folded tight. You bit the finger I thrust
into your seeking mouth. I clutched you, fear-rigid,
while mothers wailed, babes broken and rent to silence.
I begged the dark to hide you, begged you back
into my depths. But you were ripped from me.
Now, you sleep but do not nurse.
Now, milk spoils to stone in my breasts, bleeds in rivulets blue-white.