We all remember
the one who developed early
in elementary school and bled
on her desk seat.
We avoided her like she had a disease
more scandalous than mono. We dreaded
the day our own bodies would betray us.
The novelty of “being a woman”
faded fast. We scrambled to hide
our shame with sweaters wrapped
tight around our waists, panties lined
with stacked sanitary napkins.
Reeking middle school boys
who hadn’t showered in weeks
climbed onto the humid breadbox
school bus, sniffed the air, and shouted:
“Someone’s on the rag!”
We girls cast accusatory glances
at each other, our eyes protesting
Not me, not me
before we bowed our heads
like good little Puritans.
Walking the high school halls,
my best friend whispered in my ear:
“Do I smell like period?”
We were kids with cyclical bombs
dropped into our laps.
M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com.