“Breadwinner” by Lauren Conte

Temper your anger,
that beast with no name
who howls for yours.

Offer shelter, then teach it

Temper your gracelessness—
your brood swallows whatever
you feed them.

Fear has its sucker-face buried
in your guts, threatening your blood.

Temper your mouth against
mine, silence the flutters
the rustles, the tremors.

Draw near your downy-winged children,
smell their unflaws, the bits of you
you wished they didn’t have.