Teri Cross Davis

Featured on ArLiJo Issue No. 73


The books say milk letdown
feels like pins and needles.
But when pumping at work,
You feel lungs constricting
under the crush of muddy water.

You’ll never be this essential again.
So remember this smothering need now:
the engorged breasts, the suction, the release.
Know the ache contorting itself into
milk streams that sail, spray and sputter

comes from somewhere deeper than
maternal glands puffed with pride and duty.
Once you are used this way, there is no going
back, flat belly, stretch-marked less skin.
She has come now, broken you in two-
and you can’t swim away from her.
This is motherhood, you must do.
You must stay.
You must drown.

Copyright © 2015 by Teri Cross Davis.

Family Bed

Her first tumult, roundhouse, flip
little spark of flutter, little slip
when the universe tumbled thru me
I plodded, heavy with important our
path forward. Now she curls to me
the little c to the S curve my breast,
my nipple a breath away from her
needy lips. You say we must break her
of sleeping with mommy with daddy
you say two nights of no rest, of offering myself
is two nights too much— but she beckons
and when have I not heeded her call?
This love radiates, burns brighter with each
diminished night, I cannot relinquish her need.
How tired and lovely it is to fill.

Copyright © 2015 by Teri Cross Davis.

Teri Cross Davis holds a MFA in Poetry and is a Cave Canem fellow. She’s attended Soul Mountain Writer’s Retreat and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her poems have been published in anthologies, online, and in journals. She resides in Silver Spring, MD with her husband and two children.