'Remind Me' by Emmanuela Copal de León
Interlude: Remind Me, Emmanuela Copal de León, 2000.



Isis, the Mother of Unraveling and Flowers,
Gives Her Milk to Rachel Rosenthal
Patrick Lawler


The first time I saw your sister
Planets with their own ruby moons,
Was in a park where there’s an endangered
Species: the hart-tongued fern.

When an older woman I know
Had one breast removed, I changed the dressing
Because no one else would.
A zigzag of stitches. The ragged scar.
And one day the sheet fell away
From the one remaining breast
So that I could understand the real damage—

The way men cut into breasts:
Chemicals, scissors, looks.

A scientist once said to me:
Dioxins? How bad can they be?
They’re even found in women’s milk.

Before all of this,
In a warm sudsy tub, you touched
with fascination your friend’s
New breasts before yours had formed.
Now your breasts are as soft as the child

Who nursed on them when she looked
Up at you
With her tit-sweet smile.

Always surprised by them, I burst
With joy. They are part of your story.
The veins are
The blue roots of the milk flower—
The blue river story.

In the park where the wind
Is sweetened after having traveled
Through the trees, the hart-tongued fern
Holds onto its drop of life.

Later you compare my tongue color
To the color of your nipples—
They are a deeper rose. We both agree.

When I look at my own rocky chest,
Barren with two slow buds,
I know no man can understand.
Poet’s milk. The sugar of desire.
The nipple pressed on the roof of the mouth
Like a grape.

The older woman has since lost
her other breast. New scars pinkish
lie on star-white flesh next
To the barbed wire of older scars.
Her husband still feels like he’s forced to look.





Text © 1996, 1999 by Patrick Lawler
"Isis, the Mother of Unraveling and Flowers, Gives Her Milk to Rachel Rosenthal" first appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Volume II, Number 2. The work appears here by permission of the author.

Original Graphic Image, "Interlude: Remind Me" © 1999 by Emmanuela Copal de León

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