The Lactation of St. Bernard
His mouth hangs open in round anticipation.
This is how he prays: O Mary, your blood is milk.
My dreams are drenched in doves. They coo,
white froth on their beaks. They coo and become liquid.
Is this not how the Holy One vanished inside you?
Is your Son not made of the same pearly broth,
halo of cream? I too am your son.
The saint stamps his feet like a little boy. Impatient,
as if only yesterday he suckled his own mother.
All this begging, what can a nursing Madonna do
but yield? His balding head, pallid skin, could be
mistaken for a newborn’s. And his bleached
and hooded habit could be a muslin cloth.
With one arm she holds her infant, while she places
two fingers on her areola, squeezes—squirts.
A lengthy stream of milk beams flawless into the saint’s
wide mouth. Truly, a mother never had such range.
Geula Geurts is a Dutch born poet and essayist living in Jerusalem. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, The Penn Review, Salamander, Juked, Raleigh Review, Radar Poetry, CALYX, and Blood Orange Review, among others. Her lyric essay 'The Beginnings of Fire' was named a runner-up in CutBank's 2020 chapbook competition and is forthcoming with CutBank Books in Spring 2021. Her first full-length poetry manuscript Tiny Bones Glowing was selected as the first runner-up in the 2020 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award. Her mini chapbook Like Any Good Daughter was published by Platypus Press. She is a graduate of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University, and works as a literary agent at the Deborah Harris Agency.
The Ekphrastic Review
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