MENSTRAUTION

NOT A TIME TO DIE.

Elaine thinks
she's dying;
the splash of
red in the

 

lavatory pan
has spun her
sideways, taken
her out of her

 

usual comfort
zone, the outer
world crowding
in. Other girls in

 

the school come
and go, a bell rings,
then silence. She
stares at the lavatory

 

door, someone has
written a poem
in red ink, another
scribbled underneath

 

a rude black ink
remark. The white
is discoloured, the
walls like wise to

 

match. She pulls
off a handful of 
paper, wraps it
around fingers,

 

stares at her hands,
bites her lower lip.
She crosses herself,
from forehead to

 

stomach, from
shoulder to shoulder.
How does one die?
she muses darkly,

 

peeking down at
the pan, redness
spreading, she's
leaking a slow death,

 

being undone before
her eyes. Is this how
one dies? She should
be in maths, at her

 

desk, doing algebra
she's not understood,
looking vacant, biting
her pen. She leans

 

forward, peeks again,
feeling flushed, the
red splash spread.
She feels unwell,

 

pains kick in, the
walls turn white,
crowding in. An
outer door opens,

 

someone sings, the
door clicks shut,
the voice sings
in soft melodious

 

tones. Elaine moans,
pushes her fist into
her mouth, painful
groans. The singer

 

pauses, nears the door,
puts ear to wood.
What's up? she asks,
staring at the whiteness

 

of the door. I’m dying,
Elaine says, I’m leaking
blood. The girl who
was singing mutters,

 

it's just a flood, has
no one said, its a
female thing, so shut
your crying, I’ll go

 

get the nurse, to sort
you out, you're not
freaking dying. And
off she goes, the door

 

clicks shut again, nothing
but silence, disappointed
death and bewildered,
pale-faced, aching Elaine.

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