for all the children who died because they breathed

Gulf War and Child: A Curse
Annie Finch

He is sleeping, his fingers curled,
his belly pooled open, his legs gathered, still
in their bent blossom victory.

I couldn’t speak of “war” (though we all do),
if I were still the woman who gave birth
to you soft-footed, with your empty hand
and calling heart, that border of new clues.

May the hard birth our two heartbeats unfurled
for two nights that lasted as long as this war
make all sands rage, until the mouth of war
drops its cup, this bleeding gift we poured.

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