Menarche

Because I’m bleeding, the intern asks: 

When was your last period? 

Date it from the first time 

you prayed to the last time you meant it. 

Answer as only I can: You won’t 

understand, but I was a woman 


when I woke and it was right. Imagine

me, real and red in a way no man can

take from me. The speculum in his hands, 


against my vulva, my scarred 

pelvis, translating. Ask, What do you 

see? and hear water 


churning in the absence, the spur 

of forced mountain, of tissue beneath 

my gut. His cold hands, unbeliever


of the cicatrix where I was

sewn together. Nothing, he says, 

and blushes. Nothing natural. 


The exhale of metal and fingers

an apology 


-Laurel Faye

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