22. Sisterhood

The Cycle

by Alia Cachafeiro


This text was first written after an excruciatingly painful period, at a time when I was feeling frustrated and encumbered by my body’s rhythms. 


I wrote in annoyance only to find, as I was reading over it, that without intending to I had made my period sound beautiful. 


When asked what I am grateful for, my thoughts immediately went to my blood. 


This draft is a response to the grief I feel at the shame and hatefulness we are made to feel about something that I now see as magic – as something to be grateful for.

I get my period

Day 1
I wake up to a humid warmth
                                             my legs.
My fingertips travel down and
dip into
               the volcanic matter
                                             out of me
onto the stark white
of my sheets. I peel
back my duvet to assess
the damage.
The viscous stain I leave behind
looks like a fresh wound.

Day 2
My uterus wages war
                                             against me.
It’s sunny
but the peach-tinted light
turns sour.
I go to the bathroom and
the remnants of battle collected
                                             on my pad.
The toilet water is salmon pink. I flush
and watch my failed

Day 3
Everything is annoying.
Someone says my period pains
can’t be that bad. I swallow the surge
of bitter-tasting words that
in my throat and content myself
with picturing their torturous

Day 4
My organs have stopped
                                             stabbing me.
The falling,
               flaming autumn
leaves seem like the perfect
reflection of my fading russet
blood. Today
is a good day.

Day 5
My dirty bed sheets lie
on the floor. Amidst
                              the white
I find dried sanguine marks
in the shape of a
Chinese character. I stop
to admire its morbid
I wrestle the soiled cotton into

the washing machine

and watch it whirl, promptly
the traces, forgetting
the whole affair. Until next month.