Clare Sandy

Sketchy painting of the back side of a naked woman drying her hip with a towel. She is looking down and bending slightly at her waist.
After the Bath, painting by Edgar Degas (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

After decades of red blood dripping
it is a mundane thing
no fear, no repulsion (any longer)

And yet, despite my best intentions,
despite the well worn routines:

Sticky jeans in the afternoon
it came too early/too late and I
too busy

Right through to the sheets
that redblack spot
right through to the mattress pad

A rivulet roils down the topography
of my shower damp thigh
before I can even towel my shoulders

A brilliant scarlet blot
blooming on the clean bathmat

Gravity wins again




“I’m too tall, too skinny, and too smart,” I wailed to my mom.

row of school lockers
Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash

If only I were average, maybe I could learn to match outfits, then I might have cool friends, a boy might ask me out.

I knew it wasn’t that, exactly. But it was the closest my seventh grade self could get to articulating the gaping void I felt, something fundamentally wrong about me. I could never be one of those hairspray queens with acid-washed jeans peg-legged just so.

And if not that, well, what else was there?

Luckily, plenty, as I would discover in a few years.



Blue background with dark circular swirl and a smaller white swirl superimposed.
Basins of attraction for the Ikeda map. By Anders Sandberg on Flickr / used under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Are the troughs in our hearts
getting deeper or shallower?
As the years pass by, does
the detritus of our days
carve glacially or does it
pile high and lithify?
Will we slide back down
into love after the next storm
passes, or will it blow us
right over the divide
into an unknown valley?