SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Nursing Mother at the Window by Camille Yvette-Welsch


The cold blows in like ice water, a gulp in an open throat, the longing for drink when surrounded by water. How you want a cool sip when the hot shower runs down, how you want a shower.


The cold tastes like somewhere else, not this room, its claustrophobic mess of laundry and flange, eddied sheets, trembling bassinet. The ceiling fan stutters, only the window can speak in smooth syllabics, the wind a language of ease.


The cold sounds like nothing, it is just a feeling in the air, an ache as the cartilage constricts. A welcome pain, one above the waist and the breast bone. An ache tethered to nothing else.


The cold feels like a thread, pulling you into the chair, the warmth, the circlets of belly and flesh. You are tethered to the baby and the only association you have is the tetherball from recess, beating it over and over again, your whole body behind the whelp of your arm and the ball furling and unfurling again and again, the clang and slap of the ball against the metal pole, and you working at it until the bell calls you in. 


No bell here. Just the repeated motion, the unstoppable, circling ball.



Camille-Yvette Welsch is an Associate Professor of Teaching at Penn State and the reviews editor for Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Cream City Review, Mid-American Review, Indiana Review, and other venues. A Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, her chapbook, FULL, is available from dancing girl press. 


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