Woman: Defective, Misbegotten
All these old white men have fucked
women up for centuries. They called
us defective, misbegotten, not fully developed.
Doctors and philosophers had all the answers.
Too much spirit? Despise being
locked inside? Diseased.
Cut off their noses, it’ll help.
Or better yet, their vaginas.
Speaking of vaginas, do you know
what comes out of them?
Blood runs sweetly, fiercely down our legs
in that liminal space between
girl and woman
pure and not
full and empty motherhood.
Those old men, they said
I’ve lived in shame for nine years now,
or longer, if you count the years
when I listened to boys taunt the girls
when tampons fell out of their bags.
I feel disgusting – I want to claw
out of my skin, to stop seeing red.
I feel the way they say I am.
Why am I embarrassed
of the way my body represents life?
Why shouldn’t I be proud?
Choctaws say that white women
have never known what to do with their blood.
I confess, I don’t know what to do.
These Choctaw women, they tell me
this dripping is sacred, symbolic of creativity,
spirituality, wildness. The old is sloughed off
so the new, the beautiful, can begin.
Do not waste your time, they say,
on fear or on hiding.
You are most powerful
during this pull of the moon –
you are fiercely, proudly, feminine.
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