Time to bond, time to connect, time for her to be / the lifeblood of this young life.
Time to / be removed from everything adult she requires / and feel, as she says, Like
a cow dispensing milk / all damn day. Time to need the boy to sleep / a little longer, to
not demand colostrum’s liquid gold. / Time to worry over alternating breasts and
avoiding mastitis. / Time to feel like the only person who can keep this boy alive. /
Time to sleep in spurts and then, in turn, time to turn / grouchy or grumpy or testy,
maybe crabby or peevish / if the day’s been kind, snappy or ill-tempered or
cantankerous if not. / Time for the man to be jealous of the child who drifts / off
mid-suck while still he’s stuck in a chair / or on the couch, wondering if that gift of
sleep can come to him too. / Time for sleep to be all they think of, / daydream about,
obsess over. Time to question / if it’s worth it because formula can be mixed by a man
too. / Time that’s supposed to be enjoyed and, sometimes, / it is, but not as much or
as often as she had hoped. / These feedings how days have come to be measured. /
Nights too. Time to know this will last / only a short while. Soon this boy will push
away, / will reject all that’s been given him, and then / everything after will be about
closing the distance between them.


Michael Levan has work in recent or forthcoming issues of Laurel Review, The Rupture, Waccamaw, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Arts & Letters. He is an Associate Professor of English and edits and writes reviews for American Microreviews and Interviews. He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife and their three children.