Holding a container of milk in my hand,
I walk to work under the creamy sky,
that usually covers this place,
muffling everything beneath its layer of fat.
The milk is cool in my hand, and held out like this,
it becomes a talisman against the drunks who rush at me
shouting Help the Homeless, Luv, like two clowns in a reckless ballet,
against the German skinhead boys
who will not part their ranks enough to let me through
so I’m forced to cross in front of and around them.
The end boy shouts a stream of Deutsch words
over shoulder as I pass, and I imagine that cow
is one of them, floating over me: gutteral and ghost white.
I mean it’s a matter of logic to call me that,
since I am the bearer of milk,
its glad tidings gently sitting
on the pillow of my palm
to ward off demons,
as I pass the mother jogging behind a stroller,
the running businessman in his pinstriped suit,
the women in saris at the bus stop,
the private park that says No Entry,
the pub and temple,
a hint of barbed wire
that turns into a crown of thorns
whenever it curves even slightly.
The blessing of milk: part-skim.
Have mercy on us.
Low fat. Pray for us.
High protein. Have mercy on us.
Carbohydrates. Pray for us.
Energy. Grant us peace.
Eileen Moeller and her husband, Charlie, have lived in the Philadelphia area for the last twelve years. She has two books: Firefly, Brightly Burning, published in 2015 by Grayson Books, and The Girls in Their Iron Shoes, published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press, and has many poems in literary journals and anthologies. Her blog: And So I Sing: Poems and Iconography, is at http://eileenmoeller.blogspot.com
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