Another poem for poetrymonth. When I brought this one to class, students talked about the dominant culture's negative attitudes towards menstruation, sex, and the body, especially the female body. Both women and men came up with all kinds of slang about menstruation, most of which -- when we analyzed it -- implies that a menstruating woman is defective, unclean, or sexless. We talked about how many women in our culture have internalized negative attitudes towards their own bodies. There was a tangent about eating disorders. Students talked about how native women used moss instead of tampons, and how women living in community cycle together. We talked about native cultures in which women who are menstruating are considered to be at the height of their spiritual powers. One student said, "I like how poetry gets us talking about all sorts of taboo topics." Me too.
Love in Blood Time
When I saw my blood on your leg, the drops so
dark and clear, that real arterial red,
I could not even think about death, you
stood there smiling at me,
you squatted in the tub on your long haunches
and washed it away.
The large hard bud of your sex in my mouth,
the dark petals of my sex in your mouth,
I could feel death going farther and farther away,
forgetting me, losing my address, his
palm forgetting the curve of my cheek in his hand.
Then when we lay in the small glow of the
lamp and I saw your lower lip
glazed with light like liquid fire
I looked at you and I tell you I knew you were God
and I was God and we lay in our bed
on the dark cloud, and somewhere down there
was the earth, and somehow all we did, the
blood, the pink stippling of the head, the
peal fluid out of the slit, the
goodness of all we did would somehow get
down there, it would find its flowering in the world.