Six
Coming up from the creek 
     hacking at the bushes 
          with a homemade sword, 

he will step 
          on the nail, in the shit,
run through poison ivy,

get tick bit,
          bee stung 
lost — 

his bones are growing.

(Little belly-full
          he butted like a calf
          but wouldn’t nurse

nipples bled where he chewed
          milk sprayed his face.
Suck, darling boy
          milk gives sleep.)

“Let me pump it, Mama!”
          Sprays us both
               with twenty cents worth.

Dirty clothes
          go under
               the bed.

Who left the pasture gate open?
          He has each transparent milk tooth
               now but one.