By Maggie Rabatski

And this was known as the milk room,
the coldest room in the cool house.
There, on a paint-stained table,
Jugs and bowls and basins of milk
in all the stages of turning,
cream, butter, crowdie.

An absence of sun on the green lino,
the narrow north window
with a view of hill-slope
where the giver of this bounty
sometimes grazed.

Year on year
they took her calf away
after the first suckling;
she bellowed the loss for days,
through the wall his thin crying,
the birth-right of his soft warm mouth
curdling in this cold room.

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