*Content notice: allusions to violence.*
Today, two weeks too early, a complete and consummate inconvenience, tragic poetry written in its viscous red, my period came. I was at work. Suddenly unfocused. A familiar rumbling in my stomach- thunder humming in an overcast sky. A knotting below my belt. A tugging at the lower back. A burning. A snagging of attention. Untimely.
This body of mine- a preyed-on miracle. This body of mine that grieves before my mind hears of the losing. This body of mine that tirelessly works to keep me alive.
There must be punishment waiting for me somewhere because I can no longer scream when a sister dies. I simply sigh and carry on. The blood beneath her body as dark-red as the blood beneath my thighs. This sort of bleeding isn’t by design. We’re supposed to bleed for the sake of life.
(You lot better count yourselves lucky women bleed so privately).
I suspect that I’m prophet. Even from the deepest sleep, I can feel the agitation in all of our bones. Those of us with these bodies. Those of us with those bodies. It is a sort of quake that will turn land over, easy peasy, like it’s chapati batter under Nalwanga’s palms. Flatten mountains. Easy. A storm that’s all eye, no silence. Ferocious. The sight of bleeding that has, for too long, been kept private.
(We might as well do away with all the menstrual bits and bobs and bleed all over the streets and all over the men.
They seem to like the taste of it.)
How many women must be turned into bodies? (How many women have you turned into bodies?).
There’s a sort of silence that only comes because your throat is raw from screaming.
My period came two weeks early today. I call it the stuff of poetry. It arrived, dishevelling my day and with it, the news came of another untimely bleeding. Another woman turned into a body. Another trending name that seared my heart. Another body. Once woman. Once alive. Once bleeding the only way she should ever have.
It’s been a difficult day to be a woman in this world.
Rest in Power, Uyinene.