This is the week your mother tells you she’s bleeding.
Bleeding in ways she shouldn’t at her age.
She started bleeding and she can’t stop.
You’re on your period too.
Staining your fingertips
and the underside of the toilet seat
in that spot you always forget to clean.
You and your fear
wait longer than you should to empty your menstrual cup.
Your redblack sludge diffusing in the water
She’s sick! She’s Sick!
Your showboat cunt is oozing health-
While her biopsy is sent to the lab.
While her doctor isn’t calling.
While you hope to never see blood again.
While you go to work and rehearsal and
you leave her
While she folds your washcloths
into thirds instead of halves.
Secretly adding grace to your home
between firm business calls.
While she falls asleep in the grass
outside the temple made of lace.
After she tells you that her favorite color
isn’t lavender anymore.
You realize for the first time
that favorite colors change.
While she teaches you how to buy cucumbers-
Fingers tasting the whole table
while the tiny leathery farmer smiles expectantly.
She picks her prey
Bends both ends down a millimeter
to make sure it’s stiff and crisp.
While she hangs tiny ghost tealights
around your bedroom doorframe
a month and a half before Halloween.
Hopeful that soon your apartment will look like
you’re alive on purpose.
While you echo panicked
“I love yous”
that bounce from the million moments you think
she deserves life more than you-
About the artist...
Kathleen Kinlin is a performer, improviser, writer, and teacher. She’s proud to produce Resilient, a monthly variety show that showcases and raises money for survivors of sexual assault. You can catch her most frequently improvising at iO Theater with her Harold team Gideon and iO’s first all-queer ensemble Dreamboat.
Want to see more of Kathleen's work?
Check out her work from past issues: