Oyster Boy Review 13  
  Summer 2001
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» Levee 67


She Said It Was Her Mother's Breasts

Lyn Lifshin

Pendulous, drooping
down over the flab
that bulged up out
over the girdle
that left ridges
on her flesh,
almost welts.
She tried to
sleep leaning
over the bed,
wanted her
nipples, tin and
rose, her breasts
aiming at star light.
Mothers ought to
keep their breasts
like secrets
whispered around
the dining room
table in another
language so
children shouldn't
hear. It was
too hideous. Forget
the gore in fairy
tales, the
lewdness of
thighs opening
and hair dripping.
What stinks doesn't
just make a baby.
Don't, she snarls,
her pen digging
into paper, worry
about Fanny Hill or
The Story of
O, nothing she
says is as scary
as those breasts. It's
like death, like
those uncles and aunts,
who clucked and raised
eyebrows at the
table and shook
their graying heads
"no," bolting up
from graves they are
almost in the same
positions as they
were around the
table sharing what
they'd kept from me
before I wanted to