Goodnight, Sweetheart

Oh, my daughter son, my child,
you were so young
when I sent you off to win the war
on women’s rights
but instead, you returned to me
bearing the wounds of a man
shell-shocked in the trenches

Your grandmother, if you could’ve known her,
lived by one rule—Just be.
Just be what? yourself? happy?
Don’t finish it, she’d say—
         And don’t let others do it for you.
To just be is hard enough work to do in one life.

I once asked,
But how will I recognize you, daughter son, my child?
You smiled.
I got it fast.

Then we cut off your breasts
and put them in a jar
like lightning bugs for everyone to see
We lit them on fire in the backyard grill
Ashes to embers and back to life again
dropped in the wind
at the playground
where we tore up your dresses

Oh my daughter son, my child,
I pulled you out of my womb
Brushing off the fluid of an unnamed life
Let you suck the potion from my breast
and when you were full, I rubbed your belly
kissed your cheek, and whispered,

Goodnight, sweetheart,
tomorrow, when you wake,
I’ll welcome you home a man.