Tayve Neese

Milking the Cow

Landscape with Milkmaids by Henri Rousseau

Weight of her hands on my hands,
the length of her body,
engulfing my child
body like a pearl
as we held the udder
together, the scent of hay,
soil and animal,
my mother’s skin.
What nourishes isn’t ever milk,
but rhythm−
the pull and squeeze
passed parent to daughter,
flesh teaching flesh.
This is what we turn over
during the hollow years−
ghost knuckles of those at rest.


About the writer:
Tayve Neese has poetry that has appeared within Fourteen Hills, diode, MiPOesias, The Paris Review (online edition), The Pedestal Magazine, and other journals. Her first book of poems, Blood to Fruit, was published by David Robert Books in 2015. Her work has been translated into Vietnamese and has been selected for the Best New Poems Online. She is the Co-executive Editor and Co-founder of Trio House Press, an independent, non-profit press publishing emerging and established American poets.

Image: Landscape with Milkmaids by Henri Rousseau (1844-1910). Oil on canvas. 16.2 x 20.7 inches. 1906. Public domain.