“If Men Could” by Alida Rol

Alida Rol


After the birth, after you believe
the baby will live, you offer your

breast to the rosebud mouth
and thank some goddess for

the latch and your faith in
thick first milk. Some nights

are hard and sleepless, days
too, but milk is the arrow

in your quiver, the one thing
you have made for this wailing

child that can quiet her and
feed her feral hunger. Never

let anyone tell you the milk is
not good enough, that men

in labs can do better. Their
milk may be the color

of sweet cream, but
by light of day it turns

a bilious green and curdles
with greed and envy.

from Poets Respond


Alida Rol: “It came to light this week that the U.S. State Department threatened retaliation against foreign countries endorsing a breastfeeding recommendation at the World Health Assembly in May. The Trump administration actually threatened Ecuador with withdrawal of military assistance if it brought the breastfeeding resolution forward. Ecuador backed down within 24 hours. This is not about the obvious and undeniable superiority of breastfeeding over formulas; this is about the $70 billion dollar baby food industry. Although I recognize women must be involved in the baby food industry, this U.S. government action still feels like an assault on women, on mothers, everywhere.”

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