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Daughter, is it fair to keep you,,
knowing what you will inherit?

Will you understand the stories I read to you,
skin as white as snow, lips as pink as roses?
Will there be roses at all, petals for you to pluck,
grass to stain your knees, trees to climb?

I used to think Mother Nature was a real person, like Santa,
that she breathed life into every seed.
And even with shrivelled hands, lines cut into her face,
she was radiant, peaceful, eternal.

(Santa, what will I tell you about him?
The North Pole gone liquid, But what about the reindeer? You’ll ask.
Will you ever know the scent of pine mingling with cookies from the oven,
Will you even know trees? Winter? Cold?)


Six months since I first bled;
at fifteen, I’m a late bloomer (will you understand this metaphor, anthesis, tulips in April?).
Six weeks without even a cramp,
until I finally took notice.

I never thought we’d meet like this,
an extra line on a plastic stick, your first introduction.
I’ve heard my generation is the first to have a lower quality of life than our parents.
What will become of yours, I wonder?


It is the purpose of life to create more life, I learn in biology class,
every quirk of my body by design,
every impulse and thought predestined,
my entire existence optimized for you.

I optimize myself in other ways, too-
stuffing in my bra, glitter smeared on my eyelids.
I buy sustainable skincare from my favorite actress;
her jet emits 5,000 tons of carbon per year.

One of my friends is already saving up for implants,
she wants her breasts to look like this forever!
Centuries from now, twin discs of silicone will remain,
a testament to her everlasting beauty, Greek sculpture of the modern age.

Yet in all our artifice, it remains the ultimate compliment
for a woman to be a flower, a summer’s day, a pearl; true perfection is only of the earth.
And like her, we are stripped, hacked up, pruned,
made into objects to be consumed, insisting it is of our own volition all the way.

Forests cut down for the profit of corporations, ribs removed from waists.
Fluid pumped into bedrock, acid injected into lips.
Ostensibly, these procedures done to maximize our potential.
To attract investors, suitable mates, the most natural of all things turned synthetic.

Seduction is a game we play, one with niceties and unspoken rules.
But what will happen when mass displacement, scorching summers, lack of food,
make all of our customs and manners wither away,
and woman, once prized possession, loses all choice in her objectification?

As in crises past, girl becomes prey.
Only we will have no allies, no sanctuary, no hope of peace.
Even beauty, charm, the things we have spent our whole lives pursuing, turned meaningless,
attempts to evoke mercy as fruitless as the once-abundant trees.

My whole life culminated in your creation,
you are my destiny, my bloodline, my raison d’être.
How can I let you fight,
when I know I can never shield you?

Once you’re my age, will there still be clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink?
Are you only truly safe in here, size of a lentil, lodged somewhere below my stomach?

Before she was a Mother, was Nature a girl too?
If she had known what would happen to her, her daughters,
would she have chosen to carry them at all?

Without begonias and beaches she might have been bored,
but would she, much wiser than I, pick dullness over desiccation?

Daughter, five years later,
and I still think of you, unsure of whether I made the right choice.

Sometimes I dream about giving birth,
but even in my imagination, there are complications-
you come out the wrong way, or I bleed too much,
and I never once hold you against my heart.

Perhaps it is safer like this,
my cycle never skipping another month,
the routine distracting me from higher temperatures, rising seas,
I’ll sleep better knowing you won’t face any of it.

Does it actually matter, though, how often I shed blood,
when I know it all ends in haemorrhage?


Del Innhald