I want to write about nipples even though
no word is safe I write about nipples
because they make me uncomfortable
and the things I cannot touch
with my eyes look good in black ink.
Because black ink is a private part
I can hide behind a white wall and ask
why our nipples turn dark and moody while nursing
and all nipples turn the same shade of brown
but not blushing under exposure as if
color changes the social cue
unembarrassed and maybe fuck you.
I want to know why nipples feel foreign
thus darkened and why it’s dangerous.
I want to admit I’ve never seen the nipples
of a black nursing mother and my world
stays smaller as a result as a world without
color is a world without changes in nipples
so I speak about nipples for part of the planet
while all other sisters’ nipples remain
obscured from me. Other nipples.
I don’t want to Other nipples. I want
to acknowledge that nursing alters nipples,
the pink/tan/pert learns to undulate
whorls beyond the realm of seashells,
inexplicable curls and I want to write
about nipples like it’s natural
because nipples are natural and I am so much
socialization conditioned to fear the change
in body parts. To cover what grows un-young.
I’m sick and tired seeing the disproportionate appearance of
Anglo/American nipples at the expense of everyotherwoman.
We are sum-one. And yet—I cannot write about nipples because
no other flesh is cut from the same cloth. I can NOT
because they are different but I want to because
they are my mother’s. And I am my mother’s
daughter plus everyotherlivinggirlnipple
writing the shit we shouldn’t say.
Alina Stefanescu is the author of “Objects In Vases” (Anchor & Plume, 2016). She was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with her partner and four small mammals. Her flash fiction, “White Tennis Shoes”, won the 2015 Ryan R. Gibbs Fiction Award. Her poem, “Oscar Dees, No Apologetics Please,” from the chapbook Objects in Vases, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read her syllables in current issues of PoemMemoirStory, Tinge Magazine, Jellyfish Review, The Zodiac Review, Parcel, Change Seven, and others. More online at www.alinastefanescu.com.