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Let me list the colours: crimson, maroon, bright pink
the darkest wine tones reddish brown blood
all owned by me, mixed internally
by my artist womb.
Before my period I might be cranky or tired
till little darts of pain proclaim the juggernauts imminent arrival.
When I bleed everything is brighter, louder
My tolerance level is bothered but this is not disease; in four days symptoms pass.
The word period is accurate but you say “in the flowers” or “auntie flo”
“on the rag” I could go on for hours, how bizarre that you will not name this;
girls and boys shamed with the weight of your stigma.
Our daughters hide tampons up their sleeves
concerned about image, not how they feel
and they’re the lucky ones; many can’t afford the basics
and I wonder when you’ll face this.
Wild flowers bloom then die.
Scotland supports women
when pockets are empty it’s tragic for health
menstruation is a human rights issue
tissue-stuffed knickers is not ok
children with cramps toilet roll for pads
one in four miss school these are facts.
So when it comes to everyday talk of functions natural and yet so shamed
use the right terms
women’s bodies aren’t vile speak the unspoken
give up your word games.
Kathryn Crowley lives and writes in Limerick, Ireland. Return to main page: https://artyshe.com/