essay 2

Now she rolled the dough out with a wooden pin. “Anybody could smell me
long before he saw me. And when he saw me he’d see the drops of it on the front
of my dress. Nothing I could do about that. All I knew was I had to get my milk
to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to get
it to her fast enough, or take it away when she had enough and didn’t know it.
Nobody knew that she couldn’t pass her air if you held her up on your shoulder,
only if she was lying on my knees. Nobody knew that but me and nobody had her
milk but me. I told that to the women in the wagon. Told them to put sugar
water in cloth to suck from so when I got there in a few days she wouldn’t have
forgot me. The milk would be there and I would be there with it.”
“Men don’t know nothing much,” said Paul D, tucking his pouch back into
his vest pocket, “but they do know a suckling can’t be away from its mother for
“Then they know what it’s like to send your children off when your
breasts are full.”
“We was talking ’bout a tree, Sethe.”
“After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk.
That’s what they came in there for. Held me down and took it. I told Mrs.
Garner on em. She had that lump and couldn’t speak but her eyes rolled out
tears. Them boys found out I told on em. Schoolteacher made one open up my
back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still.”
“They used cowhide on you?”
“And they took my milk.”
“They beat you and you was pregnant?”
“And they took my milk!”

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