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   m i l k

--- A N O N Y M O U S

Listen, he says. I certainly don't want to rape you, I certainly don't want to hurt you. I'm a decent guy. It's just that I have been missing something my whole life, and I would like a taste of your milk. Thin salt tears stream down her face. The baby, asleep in the crib, makes no sound. With his right hand he holds the barrel of the gun to the soft hair at her temple, and with his left hand he unbuttons her blouse and opens the flap of her nursing bra. He bends his whole body to catch the warm liquid that beads at the tip of the round breast. Tongue presses tenderly to nipple.

An infinite time. Time suck rippling suck out in soft sucking arcs...

The arm with the gun pulls away, drops away from her.

Now the salt tears streak his face. I don't remember that at all, he says. His mouth twists in disgust. It's weak, it's sweet and thin, he says. Not what I expected at all. He dabs at his eyes with a crumpled handkerchief.

Wet runs down the offended breast.

But it isn't your fault, he says gently. His face softens, he seeing that she is afraid, he seeing her face red and blotchy and sticky with tears.

The gun isn't loaded, he says. I would never put you in danger like that, he says. Do you take me for some kind of monster? He offers her his handkerchief. He pushes it into her hand and she sits dazed, the one breast out like an egg, glazed with milk.

The baby wakes up: hiccuping sobs. The baby begins to wail. The baby wails for a long time and she seems not to hear.

Why don't you go get him, he says irritably. He nudges her shoulder.

Go to him, won't you.

It's a girl, she says. Goddamn you, it's not a him, it's a girl.

He twists his mouth. There's no need to curse, he says.

I'll be going now, he says.

In the version that plays in her head, her nipple points, grows long and erect in his pursed lips. He sucks for many minutes before she shudders and hot milk jets out, flooding and filling his mouth, scalding his mouth. His teeth slam together like the jaws of a spring trap, severing the long nipple from her breast. Looking down she sees herself milky and bleeding, the blood flowing in quiet streams.

And in a bubble of irridescent mucus, the bastard, the motherfucker, spits the rest of her to the floor. He retreats into a cotton sky; leaves her. The nipple lies pink and flailing in a pool of milky, clouded blood.

Of course that didn't happen.

But the baby's mouth is sometimes like a hot brand, nonetheless.

One of the policemen took her into the bedroom, his face twisting, twisted mouth spitting furious shards of words: If I ever find the guy who did this to you and your baby, I swear. He strokes the black club that hangs from his belt. I swear to you I will kill the son of a bitch. I will beat him beyond recognition.

Her husband has a candy egg. A thin chocolate shell, inside of it a sweet yellow yolk in white sugar binding. He breaks open the egg. Corpse of a gnat floating dead center in the yolk, blank and half-dissolved, at once funny and repulsive. Standing over the sink, and using the bright blade of a knife, he lifts it carefully out of the mucus center, and swallows the whole gluey rest.

Items of interest collected:

a) The skin on boiled milk. [file under Sight, Stench and Texture and subfile under Makes Me Nauseous]

b) A smudged newspaper clipping from the past or future:

…They called him the milkman, whatever became of him I don't know. He poisoned the milk in the children's school lunches. Their tongues withered to yellow stumps and they couldn't speak, could only make gurgling, strangled sounds. Their eyes dried and yellowed so that they had to wash them with artificial tears. They made so much noise, the brats, wrote the Milkman in a typewritten letter to his favorite newspaper, the Chronicle of Chronicles, they won't cry for nothing now. And they didn't hear from the Milkman again. [file under Definite Events]

c) White milk sky means rain tomorrow. [file under Elements]

d) A rubber nipple screws on. [file under How To]

e) Sperm is graceful in motion -- milk spurts onto my belly and thighs. [file under Lock and Key]

f) Godmother had cataracts and she saw everything through a liquid white haze that blurred the world. [file under Memory and Motion]


There is a bead of perspiration on his forehead that winks bright in the sun. It looks like a drop of milk.

The milkman's thousand children swallow the cold milk. The cold tickles the backs of their throats. The cold runs swiftly down the central pipe of their heated little bodies.

A mother in Isle of Man, United Kingdom: The wee ones have the milk-sickness. I dunna know what is wrung with the milka, but they canna digest it; their shite is all white curds.

Two months later, the woman keening. Rectangular void dug into mineral earth. White milk sky overhead.

One day I began to cry tears of milk. The cats came, mewing soft, and lapped at my eyes, drying them.

Sometimes she looks at herself in the mirror, cups one breast, then the other, and, no scars, no marks. But she swears to the lingering fatigue, the lingering odor, of her right breast, some clinging mildewing taste his touch left there.

A three- or four-year old child, how old? Four stubby fingers held upright, fat thumb curled shyly into palm. A child of tremendous strength who sometimes reaches out to her mother's right breast, squeezes the soft flesh hard. The mother gasps like someone's knocked her down.

Let go, mother says. That's not your body, she says. The child stares, eyes cut like stones.

He didn't mark her. Not a scratch.

No, they never caught him.

Her husband holds her close but distant. Making love to her, inside of her, he experiences the heat of her and the urgency of her, and the part of him that loves her unconditionally…shuts off. Maybe it is better to say drifts. A naked brain drifting in a milk river.

An ounce of milk lost? Half an ounce? Two, three drops? He swallowed it, digested it, pissed it out? Or are there creamy curds locked into the yellow marrow of his bones? Building, building, inside of him?

Do you breastfeed in public, ma'am? one of the cops asked, his mouth twisting.

Was the suspect someone you know?

No but --

She sees sometimes the scowl, the mouth-twist, on the soft face of the little girl. A shadow passing smoothly over light. The shadow comforting, a familiar shape.

Might he not have contaminated me somehow? Turned my milk sour? Did she, an infant in her crib, hear his scornful words, and understand then, and steal for her own selfish play the airborne particles of his contempt?

She holds the child in her lap. The child's bones go limp and the body turns into a slippery, pudding-like substance, and is sliding formless and uncontainable down through the space between her mother's legs, glopping stickily to the floor.

Shaft of sunlight through the window turns to milk. Milk pours in through the window like sunlight. Milk teeming with giant bacteria like the jellied wings of butterflies. The little house is flooded in the warm white liquid. It churns, it spins racing whirlpools. The child delighted, splashing and swimming as she does in the bath. And where am I at this moment, when the current begins to foam, and she flails her little limbs in thrashing circles? Where am I? Waves of white close over the head of the child, her mouth alive in a paroxysm of pleasure, and she drowns.

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