When I Saw the Blood

When I first saw the blood, I cried
Startled by that layered stain
Like grape juice turning into wine
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t time.
Earlier, showering, hands on hips,
I willed the bone to warp, to yield
To my angry sergeant’s whim, stay slim
Obediently regimented in
Eternal unchildbearing position.
Ignoring all sordid temptations
The exotic allure of hormones.
In PE I wrapped arms round legs
Sprouting darkening weeds, distressed,
I pruned them with dry razorburn.
It shed white petals when it healed
Which gathered under fingertips
I scrubbed hands clean, repeated it
And gave up in winter.
At home, I surveyed every change
In the pink swelling on my chest
A connoisseur with eyes critiquing
Dismissing it as not in fashion
Or failing the aesthetic dream
(Ever in revision, undefined)
It garnered only my contempt.

It overtook me anyway. A coup.
A sergeant major’s mutiny.
A field’s unbreachable undergrowth.
A vogue’s inexplicable popularity.
I could not turn that boundless tide
Still, when I saw the blood, I cried.

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