for whom the bell

when I was in my mid-30s, a man –
one with a degree
in how my lady bits
worked – explained to me
how my body
was only meant to make
so many homes
for the babies
that never arrived.

when humans evolved,
my foremother would have
become sexually mature
at age 13 or so, promptly
been impregnated by
some hulking Cro-Magnon,
carried a fetus, hopefully
bore a child, then nursed
said child for a few years – which
naturally suppresses
the hormones responsible for
ovulation – before rinsing
and repeating
as many times
as possible, until she
was dead by age 45
at the outside,
if all the childbearing
or a wooly mammoth
didn’t kill her first.

therefore, he said, it stands
to reason that this
equipment wasn’t designed
to function as many times
as it does now (when women
have the nerve to want
our own lives
that don’t revolve around
replicating our genes,
when not all of us need
to breed to continue
our species. note: he didn’t
say that part. I read between
the lines).

that shit wears out,
it breaks down. if I’m lucky
I’ll continue releasing my
lonely eggs, one by
one, building up this
empty nest and
shedding it, twelve times
a year, give or
take, until
eventually the bell
in my belly
will falter, fail,
and toll no more.

that is why doctors of
Western medicine
in their infinite wisdom
always recommend the Pill: to
trick our bodies into
thinking we’re pregnant
all the time, just like
Mother Nature
wants us to be.

I found this scientific
rationale and tale quite
profoundly disturbing.
but evolution knows
no politics. by age 25
I had already had ten
times more periods than
my ancestral mothers
had in their entire lives.
(let alone 35, or 55.)

that’s why polyps happen,
and fibroids, polycystic
ovaries, or cancer: a cruel
simulacrum of life run amok
in a garden that dares
to exist without bearing
any fruit.


I tried their Pill. it made
me feel like a robot,
disconnected from
the ebb and flow
within my body, cut off
from the moon and the
tides, robbed of the power
inherent in my blood.

get with the times, I say
to evolution. deal with it.
fuck you and your bad
design. someone
should have thought of this
eventuality. I refuse
to sacrifice
my own life’s blood,
magic and womantides
to pay your rude piper.

here’s hoping
that nature will
get its shit together.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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