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  You could have a big dipper   

Bobbing by Carla M. Cherry

Was hard to witness

Mommy’s day to day

underwire ritual.

That center gore never quite sat right.

She closed her bra

on the tightest setting to raise the cups.

Straps planted riverbed grooves into

the girdle of my mother’s shoulders.

I watched her on her wash days

bend over the tub on her knees.

Streams of black swirl

rushed towards the drain

as she beat back the encroach of silver

with black dye.

Housed her hips inside creased slacks.

Shrouded pretty legs

within knee-length skirts.

Stuffed her wide feet

into narrow high heels.

They squeezed her baby toes.

After 22 years of retirement

the natural color of her nails

hasn’t returned.

She swayed to and from

her desk,

bosses’ offices,

and the coffee machine.

Took dictation in shorthand.

Read first drafts of their handwritten letters.

Corrected poor spelling and grammar.

Produced correspondence at 150 words per minute.

When I visited her at work

my neck burned hell-hot

when those Misters called

by her first name.

She’s a married woman,

I thought.

I smiled politely through the introductions

Because I knew how

our household needed her income too.

When I read that bras

constrict lymphatic flow,

I undid the hook and eye.

Lettum fly outta the frame of those cups.

Land like a needle on vinyl

when a DJ drops a beat.

I know it ain’t supposed to be

the kinda thang to

broadcast to mixed company,

but in my boyfriend’s palm,

his generous lips

nudging netherly tickle,

they’re firmer than ever.

Now that my breasts

have been riding

pandemic pretty

I will hate having to

tuck them back into that apex--

but I can’t have the outline of my nipples

visible against silk or cashmere.

If I had canvas

and talent,

I’d paint

Mommy and me,

twirling bands of our bras with our hands

skipping towards the horizon

our bosoms in holy dance.


Carla M. Cherry (she/her) is a veteran English teacher who is studying for her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the City College of New York. She has written five books of poetry; her latest is Stardust and Skin (iiPublishing 2020). Twitter: @carla_bronxpoet

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