Nourishment by Ray Ball
In the woods and hamlets, a middle aged woman
might be known for her cunning— with a healthy
sense of self-preservation she might save her breast
untouched yet expectant. Dreams of milk
flow from a silver pitcher. Wolves would
come to my door to drink. You should be glad
you need not fear their howls. I had no one to go
to, so I made gingerbread men into a family
Then I carved out their eyes. Left the wolves to suckle
from the air picked clean.
Note: The material in italics comes from an advertisement in The Boston Courier, Nov. 14, 1795, no. 40.
Ray Ball grew up in a house full of snakes. She is a history professor, a Best of the Net and Pushcart-nominated poet, and an editor at Alaska Women Speak. Her chapbook Tithe of Salt came out with Louisiana Literature Press in the spring of 2019, and she has recent publications in Human/Kind Journal, Rivet, and SWWIM Every Day. You can find her in the classroom, in the archives, or on Twitter @ProfessorBall.