love letter–with blood

by erika

Dear Erika,

I’m writing to you from a  time when the only blood of yours you regularly see comes from the small nicks you get on your hands from rounding corners too tightly or from the impatient opening of the foil around the top of your chardonnay. Here, in this time of contusions and small profitless paper cuts, you miss the blood. Your underpants stamped with resilience and moxie. The reminder of your ripeness and youth. Oh you were a woman who knew how to bleed. Remember that time you bled all over the floor the first day you started teaching at U of I? Nic Petry, then an unknown grad student, came over to welcome you and there you sat, in your own red ocean. “I’ll just stay a moment and stretch,” you said when he offered to walk you out. And then you peeled off your long blue warm-ups (thank god you still wore unitards back then) and wiped the floor with them– laughing as you did it.

I know you get tired of wringing out your clothes.

I know you get tired of that electric dizzy spin that threatens to tip you out of consciousness.

I know you get worn out imagining another day of soaked cotton and a body that feels like a flotation device.

This is a love note to those monthly reminders of your capacity. Not your biological capacity, but your emotional one. Your ability to do the hard stuff. The stuff that is both seen and invisibilized. Remember how that rad drummer chick, Madame Ghandi, ran the London marathon with blood streaming down her legs? Remember the shock waves she sent? All because she made visual her inner reality–a reality that so many of us humans hide while doing other extraordinary things. And what a way to raise visibility for menstrual support around the planet. I know, you are no front line activist (not yet). You have more subtle ways. You, my 45 year old love, would never write a blog post about (wo)menstruation.

But I’m tired today as I write you, and I might be writing as much for myself as for you, my lovely. It’s hard drying up. I can’t even imagine how Mother Earth feels. Here at 63, I am not quite old enough to know this new desert of my body as home. I have not yet moved fully into the secret tributaries that run beneath the hot earth of my skin, found complete sweetness in the shade of wisdom and memory. Today, I only feel the ocean receding from my shores and am keenly aware of the lack of lube in all areas of my topography. I’m writing to you, my dear crampy one, to say to you, sister, be grateful! Rise up! Get off your whiny ass and use that flow to move you through your day with fierceness and joy. Do it for me–because it’s the actions of what you do today that give me the sacred wells of memory to drink from tomorrow…which together with more time give us the wisdom we need to become the slow crone of our future…the one who knows how to find nectar from a cactus and get drunk on it.

Get up, Trinity.

Love you, kitten.


63 year old Erika