On Realizing His Toddler Will Become a Woman

Original Text: 

Shane Neilson. Exterminate My Heart. Victoria, BC: Frog Hollow Press. 2008

1That you will suffer,
2that you will learn of worlds,
3that you will leave here
4and contemplate failure,
5the tears that well up
6of their own accord. That you will grow
7and love and fall, that each day
8will demand its quota of pain—
9and must it be said?
10That one day, the tally of wonders
11commonplace, your body marked
12by routine violence, you will return
13here and seek shelter
14from the marksman.
15That I could offer
16protection, that I could draw you
17close and, as now, hum
18you a lullaby—one from your childhood,
19the words forgotten. That this old
20strategy will be enough for you,
21once more, to leave.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the author.