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Infant Nursing, Sketch by Paula Modersohn-Becker

ISSUE:  Autumn 1989
Not beautiful this baby, but intent
on satisfaction. In the center of this portrait
his lower lip protrudes, its wet inner rim
supporting the nipple pulled and elongated by his tongue.
Eyes and mouth are shut.
He is his mouth and all that milk
is becoming him. The strongest lines form contours
of his head, his cheek, her breast, his lips, her lips.
His infancy is round. Maternity is round and round.
Her tender concentration, one arm cradling
the surprising heaviness of his head.
Like him she will not move until
he’s had enough. She strokes his cheek
with her rough thumb.


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