When I menstruate.
My breasts hang stretched, brush the ground,
Hands under shoulders, knees under hips
I drag me through the hours.
My hair goes unwashed.
I can smell you.
My skin is scented with sweat,
no, not like a child at play;
An old fishwife, ripe with the sea.
My clothes are stained and old, too large.
My cheeks gaunt and my eyes staring.
Thin limbs stagger to move this belly.
I reach down to the wound
Return with a fistful.
Sigils in blood, I paint on my thighs, and
belly-guards to ward demons out of my womb
I can hear you whisper to yourself
Unclean, unfit, unclear, unready.
I can hear you.
I can see the heat of your approach
change the density of the air.
Strands billow, like oil, like smoke, a
drop of red ink in a water glass.