March 21, 2017

For Adrienne Rich

Spring began yesterday
and with it, my cycle,
late.
Lining my thighs with
slick, red, loose blood,
spotting my face with
imperfections
it was unapologtic.
Clawing aches down my thighs,
clawing craving through my center,
it was merciless.
Filling my eyes with tears,
filling my heart with the whole world,
it was the unmoved mover.
My cycle began
late,
only after I spent an evening
steeped in feminist strength,
in the fierce, brutal written words of
an honest woman
born sixty years before me,
who was writing
a decade before my birth.
She was unapologetic, merciless, too.
She was imperfect and craving and carrying the world.
She was not late—
like spring, she came right on time.

But it is uncertain as yet if we—
our generation, our sisters—
will need to apologize ourselves.
It is uncertain if we will come,
fierce, imperfect,
into this fight.
It is we who must learn to be moved and
to move.
Her feminism is our feminism,
but ours contains, too, the knowledge of
all of the seeds her generation planted
that we failed to water and weed.
More is expected of us,
we who have been given
more time, more space.

The blood comes when it may,
and we fight for the right to bleed
from month to month
without unwanted interruption
as we fight for the other cycle—
the cycle of rising up and falling back—
to cease.

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