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Tonguing, leaving streaks between your cloven
lips, the spots where blushes and bruises bloom,

even during your heavy flow. Back then,
you said, you’d hide away in the bathroom.

Blood in your panties, soaked into your jeans,
and how everyone smirked. In the old tongue

even the word for menstruating means
hidden away, dashtani. “I was young,”

you said, “and Soviet-era tampons?
I’d just stay home.”
Now you press on my face,

here in the bathtub, as your uterus
sheds. I have streaks on my chin, red and bronze,

my tongue working you to a state of grace,
delving deep between your clit and anus.


In Armenian, the word for menstruating, dashtan, (դաշտան), is the same root word for separation, dashtani (դաշտանի).