Milk and Brittle Bone


poems by

Phebe Davidson

Poetry book, 70 pages, $14 cover price

($10 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-142-5

Released: 2008


Phebe Davidson is a staff writer for the Asheville Poetry Review, Reviews Editor of Yemassee, and a member of the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Her poems and reviews appear in a range of print and electronic venues including The Cortland Review, Cadillac Cicatrix, The Asheville Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Blue Earth Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry East, Review Revue, and Ekphrasis. She is the author of nineteen published collections of poems, most recently Fat Moon Rising from Main Street Rag Publishing Co. A new book of poems, The Surface of Things, will be published in 2009 by David Robert Books. She lives in Westminster, SC with her husband Steve and their cat Fripp.

Praise for Milk & Brittle Bone

With blunt honesty and brutal wit, Milk and Brittle Bone rips through the very fabric of what we think we hold, what we think we control in life and in death. There is no place to hide in the face of tragedy, no space to revel in pleasure when the balance we seek shifts slightly off center, yet we find solace in the understanding that no matter how sad, cruel, or insane life, it must go on whether we like it or not. These poems are crafted by intellect and driven by guts, the very things that we expect to see in excellent poetry.

—Ray McManus

I am filled with admiration for the poems in this new edition of Milk and Brittle Bone. Phebe Davidson has captured the essential details of family life in ways that are familiar to everyone. Her honesty about the most painful aspects of our lives is so real it hurts, but therein lies the great strength of this collection; which balances poetry of loss with poems that celebrate the essence of motherhood and the wonders of the natural world.

—Marjory Wentworth

Phebe Davidson takes a scalpel to the human condition. She cuts into relationships, feelings—and her own heart—from unexpected angles and reveals profound truths. The insights are deep and, as in all of her work, the language is brilliant. A treasure!

—Dennis Ward Stiles

In the Dream

In the dream
The children are light and brittle
Drying with the passage of years
Like rusks in an oven.

Time is a dry wind at the door
Shy of this house
Where the children lie
Light and brittle as rusks.

In the dream
The children are light and brittle
Lying in time like dry rusks
Or husks of another year.

My Grandmother’s Breasts

Were great secrets when I was a child.
She kept them hidden inside a chemise laced up
In a corset under her old lady dress.

In the morning I would try to see them
Where her pajama tops gaped around the buttons,
But I never did.

I saw them years later
When she was senile, wandering the house naked
On errands she couldn’t remember.

My grandmother’s breasts were narrow and long.
They hung down nearly to her waist.
Her nipples were brown, and that was all I saw.

Today I remember my grandmother’s breasts.
They were white as new milk,
Tender as a girl’s.

You, Momma

Fuck you, Momma!
cries the voice of my first-born

who nursed with such sweet abandon
that he nearly sucked my soul out
through the nipples

there is a sudden gushing hole
beneath my heart
not even with both hands

can I pull the edges
closed again to stop its viscid rush
last year he would have said

Fuck you, Mommy!
and I could have made him hush.

SKU: 978-1-59948-142-5 Category: Tag: