Blood and Milk

by Sharlee Mullins Glenn

I dreamed of Oxford . . .
(spires, a thousand spires, endless lectures, musty halls
a solitary self in a Bodleian expanse
A good life my dear Wormwood. An orderly life.)

then awakened to laundry
and things to be wiped
countertops, noses, bottoms)

How did this happen? And when, exactly?

Time flows, it flows, it flows
and there are choices to be made:

left or right?
paper or plastic?
blood or milk?

There's freedom in the bleeding;
bondage in the milk—do not be deceived.

Ah, but it's an empty freedom; a holy bondage,
A sweet and holy bondage.

Five times I chose the chains, those tender chains,
(though once will bind you just as well!)
and checked the crimson flow.
Suckled while dreaming of Trinity Term
but awakened, always awakened, to the laundry
and to that small and cherished captor at my breast.

Sharlee has an MA in humanities from Brigham Young University. She taught at BYU for a number of years before giving up academia for the writing life. She has published essays, short stories, articles, and poetry in The Southern Literary Journal, Women's Studies, Irreantum, Wasatch Review International, and BYU Studies. She has also published a novel and three picture books for young readers. Sharlee lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, their five children, a very literary dog named Kipling, an escape-artist cat named Houdini, and a stuck-up beta fish named Flame.