Blood Paintings

Blood Paintings


Still I’ve said: motherhood is not for me.

And my own mother has cringed, thinking

of how she has tied her whole life

around that role. She is imagining

grandchildren and I am imagining forests.

I have seen the housecat, mewing,

gnawing kittens hang from her breasts —

clinging and needing. Trapped,

I have seen her disgust.


I still do not understand why our bodies

count the same rythms as the moons

but I have learned to think of these,

the blood paintings on the pale

of my inner thighs, as a map

of where my body has been.

And when finally my body opened,

after years of not knowing

if it would know how to take it,

the blood ran freely down

to pool neatly near the knees.

The whole place reeked of red,

reeked of my trauma. It ran in rivers

along the floorboards of our apartment,

leading from room to room.


The wind doesn’t howl, it moans

like a body satisfied. And all winter

this house has been ready to burst

with the obscene sound of it.

We look away. We know

only the terse civility

of our brief exchanges, coming

or going through the slick metal shame

of the front door. Every morning the same

arguments: sex, the lack of it, the weather

in the adjoining rooms. Our accusations

linger in the kitchen, cling to the damp

towels and watch us, a rankled cat,

as we burn logs to heat the home.

(photograph by me, originally written in March 2014)

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