Monday, January 1, 2007

Nursing the Lost

At fourteen months, she doesn’t need the milk.
So why continue? It’s no longer about
nutrition, immunity, bonding,
or comfort at bedtime. It’s just this:
once the milk is gone, it’s gone.
There will never be another child to feed.
The doctor saw to that.
For every beautiful thing that is gone forever,
for every kiss that will never be kissed,
for passenger pigeons, Tasmanian tigers,
for paintings and poems burned in the purge,
for hope winked out in any kind of prison,
for every soldier dead in every war,
Come, I lift my shirt.

Cheryl Gatling

published in Gingko Tree Review

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