Our Lady of Blood
There's not enough blood in the world to fill the gaping chambers of your heart, pumping, pumping, always rasping dry, thirsty for some sign of affection from all the people you want to love you, your mother, the girls in school, (the boys), your mother, that one kind teacher, and Jesus, too, but mostly your mother, who’s only love is a god she bent into a false idol, a blasphemy of rage and hatred pinned to the walls of the tiny room she locks you in, a god who stares down from his cross with many suffering and judging eyes, asking, This is the blood I’ve spilled, where’s yours?
One day, your body begins disgorging blood in an evolutionary cut-and-paste solution to baby making and, hey, congratulations, you’re a woman now, they say; unless they’re your mother, then they call you a whore; unless they’re teenage girls, then they call you a freak and fling tampons and shout, plug it up, plug it up. I remember the mixture of pride and shame that came with the discovery of my own body changing, it’s distortion into something that didn’t match the images of girls in magazines, a betrayal of the self I knew; and I remember my mom being too distracted by the tumult of her days to offer anything more than disinterest when it occurred; and most of all, I remember those girls, the ones who hunt like hyenas through school hallways, cackling as they searched for weaker prey, not just the popular girls, but the former friends turned feral—like the girl who gathered a group to play a game of mockery or the girl who transformed like a moon-born wolf and threatened to leave me beaten and broken on a street corner.
Some days it rains blood, the red of it in your hair and your lovely, pale dress, smearing the fragile fragment of your hope with slippery shame, while all around the sound of laughter echoes in your skull, leaching poison into your veins into your thudding, thudding heart. Blinded by the red running, flooding your eyes, you could not see the people for the crowd, each one a whole being, lost and loved and broken and afraid, despite their laughter, each one your mirror, your own wounded self refracted into a hundred bodies, each one full of their own blood thrumming with hopes and horrors. You could not hear the screams resounding through the gymnasium as you unleashed your rage into a cacophony of carnage and flame. You had been emptied of faith, of mercy, made cavernous, carved out in body and soul—womanhood for you hollow, a wash of crimson and pain.
Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. Her work has also appeared in several publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, and Strange Horizons. She serves as an associate editor for Zoetic Press, and is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com.