Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman’s Daughter Got Her Period on TV


and thought she was dying. I was in Algebra–-my period an axiom
not on cable–-shamed by the red flame on rags between
my legs. I got mine the week before baseball tryouts,
thought I was sick with dark slick shit, not eggs.

Dr. Quinn on TV and me, shamed by the red-ragged flame. Between
my math-mad, baseball-coaching dad asking, "How'd you like that episode?"
and me thinking I was sick with dark slick blood, I was a shell
of a girl. Could someone just solve for the unknown variable

between my thighs? Dr. Quinn asked, "How did you like
becoming a woman?" and I wanted to say that I didn't like it
that no one told this girl about the unknown variable–-
how it bleeds for days without stopping for cotton.

Becoming a woman? I wanted to say that I didn't like it. Wanted to
play Little League with parabolic pants that fit my hips, without
bleeding for days, without stopping for cotton shifting, itching
into second base as the ball soars between the boys' acute-angled legs.

So I left the diamond behind for hips, for blood without
fight, watched Dr. Quinn and Gone with the Wind with my mom
instead of sliding into second base between boys' cute angled legs,
fingers fitting in and out of gloves, gaping holes of leather, asymptote.

I left for fights with Mom, prodding doctors, and girls gone as the wind
soft crotches worn in beloved jeans, till threads rent
like separating eggshells, gaping gentle hole warm against pillow, asymptote.
I left baseball for hickeys, for ungloved palms and rise-over-run

became a soft-jeaned girl with lovers crouched, rending the worn
pad between my legs because I'd gotten my period the week before.
I left baseball for hickeys, for ungloved palms and rise-over-run, for algebra
pocked with small deaths, my period an axiom, coming again.