written on 28 September 2020 by Erin Iwata

Art by Ilona Wilson

*Niddah is the Jewish law surrounding female menstruation.

Strong- assured
masculine even,
chiseled rigor of motherhood,
capable, master expertise
I march in logical,
bloody Monday
reminds me;
creeping like
a northern leg
weaker cousin,
ball bearings
hanging low
and heavy
until the dam breaks,
kegels grasping
weakly for cotton
soaking red
in her own

Bloody Monday
reminding me
I am sick
in some way.
Giving up
on my lists,
halted by the welling
the untenable headache.
The cracked egg
opened and slowly
dribbling yoke
all over everything.

I am woman, watch me bleed.

If separate tents granted me spa silence,
meditative journaling,
daily dips in the dead sea
Sign    me    up.
Every month like clockwork.
This isn’t Godly misogyny;
this was Divine femininity.
Built-in reprieve from the need
to wipe everyone else’s asses;

to tend to your own bloody hole.

Reprise the ancient art of menstruation.
Exalt this Woman’s Club to its proper status.

Because I know I will miss it
when it dries up inside of me;
fertility fleeing like the last
animals from a forest fire.

Can I savor the reason
I ditch my dishes for chocolate
and oversized sweatpants?
Can I joyfully blame
the ridiculous things I say
in pre-catamenial fever,
unabashedly brush it off
“Girls will be girls you know.”
Everyone cat laughs with pride
and acceptance. Knowing nods
relegating the baffled boys
to their place
outside    the    tent.