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Rhythms scuttle through your blood. Even I,

tone-deaf and banal, can feel them each time

I press my tongue inside you. Some still cry

that you’re unclean. They’re afraid of ragtime,

watinen, blood clots; of, kwek ezhechkewat,

menses. They would keep us … separated;

keep you from lifting your nightgown to squat

over me. Some call the beat in your blood

briny like zinc. I call it honeyed, sweet

sounding, melodic on the tongue. Grunge drips

rhythm, glory and scuttle. Fraught with clots.

Chaos in your capillaries. These neat

beats each time your cunt nuzzles to my lips,

staining my humdrum teeth with cosmic blots.



Leaders bleed, period,” Sylvia Young once wrote. In the Potawatomi language, Bode’wadmi, the word for blood is, “mswké” (also, “mskwim”). When blots clot it is, “watinen.” Menstruation is called, “kwek ezhechkewat.” There’s a lot about other people’s taboos concerning moon-blood that I find perplexing, from the concept that someone can be, “unclean,” to the need of keeping those with wombs separated from the rest of us. My teachers over the years have almost all been crones and wise women, people who’ve had very little use for prohibitions and superstitions concerning, “Eve’s curse,” as the boys would say. I like what Lucy H. Pearce said on the subject, “[at] her first bleeding a woman meets her power./ During her bleeding years she practices it./ At menopause she becomes it.” Migwetch.