Tell Me a Secret

by Matt Dennison

I said from the tub as she knelt
by the side stirring the water

and she said, When I was a girl,
before my breasts had grown,

I thought one breast produced
chocolate milk, the other white,

until I found my mother dead,
flat dead on the kitchen floor

when I was nine and knew
my beautiful—see them?—

breasts-to-be would one day
be for you. Scrub yourself. Place

these in the future for yourself.
Make yourself clean.