Mary Talks about Breasts
All the painters gave me virgin’s tits—
pomegranates shoved under skin
as though that one son’s milk had no specific gravity—miracle milk pumped direct
from angels’ song—and suckling him took nothing from my body.
As if we’d all trip over our own Ground of Being, by which I mean
breasts. As if it mattered what part of me was broken open
or unclothed by the great wind of spermless conception.
Just look at paintings. I’m untouched in all
those announcements—barely a breeze from our angel’s descent
or scary plural voice,
and the spirit shooting light
towards my ear because the old men of the Councils
wrangled the conclusion that the baby had to get in some orifice
un-gross, unfilthy, and besides,
the right one for The Word. But this is about breasts,
and painters who believed a virgin’s round-fruit breasts
could hold enough milk to feed God
and never droop.
As if begetting a god would leave a woman unwracked, unracked.
But, look, I find my painted self
ginger, blonde, or barely brown for 1500 years,
on walls, one always out and shiny
as if I were an Amazon.
2000 years and more my breasts,
along with those of goddesses and nymphs
and girls left out for gods to rape, and poor Agatha,
are all the boobs that don’t offend.
Mothers suckle babes in toilet stalls
and dressing rooms (where cameras watch),
swim clubs with “topless” decks may not permit a nipple in a baby’s mouth.
You know, I know of women who give up their breasts to live
and do not choose to be cut again
and harvested (there’s fruit again) or stretched to make new bumps. They are
often asked by men what will your husband have to play with now?
Miriam Sagan has indulged us with this introspective poem from Ms. Devon Miller-Duggan. Written as Mary (and self) it is sensitive to the female perspective on the mammary glands. The body part that gives nourishment to the infant and pleasure to a male. My unanswered question is “what of Mary’s experience in nursing the Babe? Did she experience the same pleasure that we non-virgin mother’s feel? Did she suffer the emotional and physical loss when the Babe was weaned? I ponder on this.