Ashamed of my own blood, I hid
tampons in zippered pouches in my purse,
used tampons beneath wads of tissue in the trash,
embarrassed someone might glimpse
my muddy crimson, clotted cotton,
claret, catamenia, carmine,
ruby river, soiled moon,
and discover I was woman, female, prone
to crying for no reason,
outsized emotion, tidal sobs and gushing
that warrants eye rolls, knowing looks,
like the ones they gave my mother, always late,
always unbidden, always too bloody
sensitive. So: when you whisper, I’m bleeding.
I say, So? I pull you to me,
I flush, I flood. I want your blood
on my thighs, my fingertips, my
cheeks, lips ruddy, wet and gleaming.