Baby the Crime

by Janice Miller Potter

of a century
happened just like that
at your dad’s estate sale
a snapshot of you at

six months fell from a box
that romper your mother
sewed on her Singer
was trodden by a heel

still your baby face
beams through an oily map
while your paddies reach
for a great bid ball

should you be sold
now that Vietnam’s cinnamon
and you are a hostage
no child of yours will save

with Doughboys and GIs
they fire you blanks
for your soldier’s pay but
we play tapes that rasp

like a codger stuck on
kids who took napalm
betelred teeth cheap cunt
corpses in bloody paddies

baby did God
toss you that clovestudded
Christmas orange
or was it a lesser grenadier

the one who is shelling
out gold stars to mothers
for fiery black
headlines from Iraq