The secrets of losing recede until regret
is the only expression: instruct in error,
in the luck that flung you into wonder.
I've held you evenings in a briarpatch,
spitting lullabyes that permit a temporary claim.
Song of diamond, ease, mortal wound, the shared cry
that you were never mine as I am not yours.
Fathers distinguish love's night terrors from dreams,
years on. Your own sons will long
for bedtime stories, and you too will spill
the secret I'm trying to tell: our feelings are am,
what will be. By day we play, are hurt within
protectorates of choice. I can't choose.
You were given to me. To lose.
From We Need Our Names (Anstruther Press, 2014) by Shane Neilson