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Same Blood

Houghton Mifflin

Ballantine Books
 February, 1990


Part One,
Chapter 1

Page 14

comin’ to work with me but stay close by or yer gonna sit in the car.” Now Mrs. Butler’s in one of them cars all the time along with Adele and me and his daddy who he don’t know and Monga who’s been with us over a year now though I don’t got a clue who he is. All of a sudden you see Bubby walkin’ with his head still as a dish and you know he’s carryin’ Monga on his shoulder. And I gotta keep an old broken chair at the table no one can set in, in case Bubby decides Monga’s gonna eat. Anyway, I’d be layin’ there and Bubby, he’d just up and quit, come over, and I’d lift up my shirt and bra and go half asleep while he’d nurse. Then he pulls my lids up and tells me short, “Don’t sleep!” and I try not to but I’m shut down.

See, I nurse him so I can rest up. Otherwise I’d be havin’ to play trucks and there ain’t nothing more tirin’. So Marilyn, she starts in tellin’ me things and askin’ and sometimes, Daddy, I git scared at what she’s gittin’ at. She says Bubby’s gotta git his own bed, that it ain’t good he sleeps with me, and I say that’s dumb ’cause he wakes up like last night and he nurses even after my tits are outa milk and I go in and outa sleep. I tell Marilyn I can’t see myself gittin’ up and goin’ to a separate bed, I’d be dead by mornin’. She don’t like that answer, she says I gotta wean him soon or he’ll be goin’ to school nursin’, and so I say to Bubby, “You wanna stop nursin’?” and he says, “No!“ and starts cryin’ and clingin’ to my pant leg and I think, Shit.

And so I says to Marilyn, she can play trucks. I’d rather lay back on the couch and feel my body mauled over but my mind is sunk down in almost dark. But since Marilyn say it ain’t healthy now, I don’t feel good lettin’ Bubby nurse in front of her ’cause he pulls the other tit up while he’s suckin’. It can go nearly half a foot up and he laughs and stops suckin’ to say loud, “TEE-PEE,” and then lets it fall again and the skin waddles awhile like a wave and Bubby says, “BOAT.” He likes boats most. Marilyn, she used to wince though it never hurts me none, I got so much extra skin. So now we go into the bedroom where Marilyn can’t see and Bubby’s given my tits names. The left one, that Bubby, and the right one’s me and

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