Madonna Litta


c. 1490 Leonardo da Vinci

Oh, Mary! It must have been a revelation
to breastfeed your boy the will of God.
All I had to offer was the usual. For years
after my son was weaned, I still had milk.
The men I slept with loved it. Men can be
such babies when a stream shoots up
like fountain spray and hits the ceiling.
In this stingy world I was blessed
with more than I could hold.
Like Rose of Sharon in the scene of scenes,
her stillborn given to the river; the way she
bared her breast to save a starving stranger—
I could have done more—
                               but I didn’t know how.


Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections, The Warrior and The Burning Point, and the chapbook Voices of the Guard. She teaches an ongoing poetry-writing class at The Himan Brown Program at the 92NY in NYC.

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Madonna Litta

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