Mildred J. Mills


Mildred J Mills


When she pressed you to her breasts
That very first time, kissed your sweet soft
Cheeks and looked deep into your eyes
I wonder what she thought you would become.

When she rocked you tenderly, did she also sing
Or was she silent, staring into a dark lonely space
Filled with skeletons from long ago?

Did she soothe your swollen gums when you
Cried late at night with teeth raising hell in
Your tender little mouth? Or did the fever consume
You while you screamed all alone?

Did she hold out her hand when you took your
First step – or watch you fall flat on your face?
Did she walk you to kindergarten and cry as she
Let go – or push you out the door hungry,
Alone and afraid?

Who taught you about becoming a man, about
Being a teenage boy and staying out of trouble?
Did you ever feel loved or just abandoned and unwanted?
What turn in life brought you to this place?

When she pressed you to her breasts
That very first time, kissed your sweet soft
Cheeks and looked deep into your eyes
Could she ever have known that at age forty-five

Her precious child would be trying to survive
By fishing for food amidst garbage and flies?

Mildred J Mills

Mildred J Mills grew up picking cotton on a sixty-acre cotton farm in Wetumpka, Alabama. She holds a BA and MA in Creative Writing, hosts My Cotton Patch Moment, a podcast, and her first book, Daddy’s House: A Daughter’s Memoir of Setbacks, Triumphs & Rising Above Her Roots, is due in December 2023. Mildred lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband.

Listen to My Cotton pach moment Podcast by Mildred j. Mills on

or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Art by Barnett Lee Jordan, Jr.

I Voted
Laura Parker Roerden
Selected Poems
Zoe Korte
Absolutely Fucked & Selected Works
Yasmeen Mir
Why Nursing?
Sara Luster
My Pandemic Reality
Reyna Amaya
Barren or Fruitless
Zoë Barnstone-Clark
This is What Democracy Looks Like:
Sacred, Hard Won, and Fragile

Contributing Artists
American Omens
Lynn Mitchell
R.B. Kitaj
Alan Loehle
Education in the Age of COVID
Bonnie Culver
Theater of Cruelty
Cody Marsh
Selected Talisman Poems
Aliki Barnstone & Corina Dross
Selected Poems
Jacob Griffin Hall
Julia Fleming-Dresser
Adam Sobsey
Anthropocine Series
Alan Loehle
Ernest Burden
Trans World Airlines
Human Decency: A Priority
Michael Matos
Phoenician Morphosis & Selected Works
Knocking for the Future
Pauline Allen
Meet Them Where They Live (Part 1)
Paxton Farrar
Deb Luster
Consider This
Akiya Henry
Selected Works
Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah
A View of Black Lives Matter
Contributing Artists
True Form Films
Yeniffer Behrens-Mendoza & Mauricio Mendoza
PFAs Contamination
Tonya Chandler
The Dirt on Clean Wine
Tom Mills & Adrienne Voboril
Reinvent & Reconsider
Holly Arbuckle
One Health by Design
Jessi Flynn
Kweza Craft Brewery
Jessi Flynn
A New Resistance
Ed Brown
Beyond Rorschach
John Fleming
Journey to Her Roots
Kat Donnelly
Drink Different
Jason Dibble
The Frontier in my Fridge
Chien-Kang Chen
Kyung Me
When BeDeviled
Sara Jolena Wolcott
10 Years in the U.S.
Yee Eun Nam
Diatribe Diaries
D.S. Legters
The Bucky Ball
Contributing Writers & Artists
Isabel Mareş
Infinity + 1
David Zung
The Jingle Dress Project
Eugene Tapahe
Flowers Everywhere
Deependra Bajracharya
Desire Lines
Gui Marcondes
Planetary Health and the Great Transition
Marie Studer

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