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
               oozing
                              between
                                             my legs.
My fingertips travel down and
dip into
               the volcanic matter
                                             dripping
                                             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
               discard
the remnants of battle collected
                                             on my pad.
The toilet water is salmon pink. I flush
and watch my failed
fertility
               gurgle
smugly.


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

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
                                             crumpled,
                                             crestfallen
on the floor. Amidst
                              the white
I find dried sanguine marks
in the shape of a
Chinese character. I stop
                                             fleetingly
to admire its morbid
                              beauty.
I wrestle the soiled cotton into

the washing machine

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