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Ann Leamon

Houses

Caretaking this multi-million-dollar home
once mine, now under contract to someone
else, empty, echoing, dining table bearing
a plastic orchid, a drop of beet juice.

A single fat ruby
on the kitchen tile.
And pouring in from memory—
menstrual blood.

How fast you forget the cycle, the constant
awareness, surprises, always late in a suburb
with no stores and your last tampon in the other bag,
hot stickiness between your legs and an important meeting
the next day. Every woman has that story. Just ask.

With age, I thought it would subside. Instead
in a last convulsive gasp, my body lost
all decorum, no longer predictable, abandoned
to hormones, raging against the changes.

Unexpected deluges of thick heavy red
fluid, ropy clots, cramps, doubling over
while walking the dog, invisible teeth
chewing my insides. Finally

the doctor asked if I had any questions,
and I confessed. He said, “Oh, we can fix that.”
And my God, he could, easy, quick,
and my world opened up, welcoming.

Freeing me from the strange house I was living in.

Ann Leamon holds two diametrically opposed master's degrees - one in Economics from the University of Montana and one in Poetry from Bennington Writing Seminars. The hopscotch of poetry continuously surprises her. 


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