To comfort, relief in affliction, consolation, solace—
That shelter’s cold dark mouth, this body—
A flood of milk: first one breast, then the other. I want
the baby milkstruck.
Over—another word that means nothing
as I feed the baby in front of the TV in front of America’s new war,
while in Liverpool while in the Blitz while in an evacuation
in the air raid shelters, nurses hand out the warden dolls—
Hold a baby on your lap
smell her hot pink plastic twist her dress around her legs
her white bonnet hides her bald head.
Doll in a gas mask doll at the breast
I must be careful: must flip the nipple from her mouth.
Must dislodge the gas mask from her face, baby in a shelter, baby–
The gas masks at all army supply stores all five boroughs of the city sold out.
I nurse the baby, I watch the war.
There is no body I can do anything about.
In London, air raids divide the night and the nurses lead the children
down, past ticket machines, past stone walls, into
Tube station shelters,
clip identity bracelets on the children’s wrists to identify their bodies.
In London, all the mothers are gone.
In New York, I watch a wedge of light under the door I watch
the world shut out I watch the war. I hold the doll I hold the daughter.
Above ground, in Kensington: a Victory Garden— all the flowers replaced with cabbages
the size of too large roses, size of breasts,
size of a baby’s head.