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Monday, August 17, 2015


by Megan Collins

Kiran Gandhi, a drummer for singer M.I.A. and Harvard Business School graduate, was called "disgusting" and "unladylike" after she ran the 26.2-mile race in April with blood running down her legs. She said she did it to raise awareness about women around the world who have no access to feminine products and to encourage women to not be ashamed of their periods. —People, August 13, 2015. Image source Kiran Gandhi via People.

She charged like Artemis
through the race.      

          We’re not as desperate
          for attention as she is.

She weaved between people
as if between trees in a forest.

          Must we all be involved
          with every single problem?

Her legs and lungs hunted
for the finish line.

          Must we monitor what women
          in other countries do?

Her blood bloomed
against her thighs.

          I’ll stick to worrying
          about Western women.
          If that makes me elitist,
          so be it.

It was a red moon waxing,
a dark flower unfurling.

          It isn’t natural
          for a civilized society.
          As a woman, I find it disgusting
          and unsanitary.

It was in her sisters’ names she bled,
but still, her sisters said,

          She should be ashamed.

Author’s note: Accompanying almost every news story about Ghandi in the past week has been an onslaught of comments from readers who vehemently oppose Ghandi’s actions and cause. I was surprised to see that most of the negative and especially vicious comments came from women, the very people who Ghandi was attempting to support. In my poem, the indented, italicized sections are quotes culled from some of those women’s comments.

Megan Collins holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She teaches creative writing and literature in Connecticut, and is also an editor of 3Elements Review. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Compose, Linebreak, Rattle, Spillway, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal.