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Today, when the blood spurt showed
I knew before I looked,
knew it from the giant claw that reached
inside to squeeze my womb and wring it out.

Sleeping on the ground in the barrens,
you learn to look for signs of changing weather:
the direction clouds are moving, and how fast,
their thickness and the gaps between.

Each cycle is a year, each week a season.
Fresh blood of spring,
long, high midsummer of ovulation,
changeable weather of waiting
that blows hot, then cold,
the early winter darkness,
life that might have been
gone underground.

{"Barrens" originally appeared in The Ledge, Number 26, Winter-Spring 2002-2003, and is included in the chapbook Falling Dreams, Finishing Line Press, 2006}