Prose: "Blood" by Arlene Antoinette

The blood is upon you again. In the fetal position you lay almost silent, but for the moans that escape between clenched teeth. You can’t stand up. You can’t sit down. Pain rips through you. The cramps are so jarring you hold your breath trying to suffocate them as if they were some type of fire that could be snuffed out due to lack of oxygen. You ball yourself up into the fetal position which is quickly abandoned for thrashing about and crying.

Most people don’t understand. Some days you wish they could suffer the way you do, but that would be too cruel. You pray that this will be the last time you’ll have to hurt like this. You know it won’t be, but you are willing to lie to yourself in order to make it through.

It lingers for days like a guest too at home to leave: day one, day two, day three, day four, day five, day six, and day seven. Seven seems to be your unlucky number. You are thankful for small favors, it’s finally over. You’ve bled for two weeks and even a month in the past; for you a mere seven days is heaven.

Endometriosis, they've named this pain bringer. Don’t they know to name something is to give it power? You curse the doctors for giving it power.

Arlene Antoinette is a writer from Florida, USA. 

I am a woman, born in the West Indies and brought up in New York City. I am a daughter, sister, friend, teacher, helper, believer, music lover, democrat with liberal tendencies. I am a writer because life experiences need to be shared with others and word of mouth goes only so far. I also write as a way to purge my emotions. Writing equals freedom for me. When I write I am no longer contained in this restrictive body, I become free (through my words) to touch everyone who reads my work. I become a part of their consciousness (even if only for a short period of time). I become more than I can be as a physical being.

On their work: 

The poems that I've submitted are a composite of the lives of different women. When I write I draw from the life experiences of myself and those who have overlapped my path in my walk through this life. Shared experiences brings us together as, women, as people, as human.

On creators: 

Women/girls need to know that we have a voice that needs to be heard. We are valuable members of society and we should know that the written word sometimes holds more power than the spoken word. Women/girls have to know that nothing changes if it only remains a thought.