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Mother I

By: Gretchen Primack

She is to mother yogurt. 

She is to nurture cheese. 

Curdle her milk into sour

cream. Call her mother. 

She is denied her child

so we may suckle. 

Her child is a chop

so we can serve

her milk to our children. 

Always there is her child--

in her cells, in her udder,

the yes before the no

each time a machine is clamped

to her chafed breast.

each element of the milk

is designed to raise him--

this is what the world 

told her, her body told her,

and he came as promised,

and then the violence. 

This poem originally appeared in KIND, a poetry collection by Gretchan Primack

Gretchen Primack is the author of two poetry collections, Doris' Red Spaces (Mayapple Press 2014) and Kind (Post-Traumatic Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Field, Poet Lore, Ploughshares, and other journals. Also an animal advocate, she co-wrote the memoir The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery 2012). Visit her website at http://www.gretchenprimack.com/

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