Hateful rhetoric spews forth, saturating me, welting my dignity and raging inside of me until I can no longer contain my opinions.
This is not the world I want for my sons or their future partners. I refuse to hold it in anymore. I have come into my power and it overflows as part of my lifeblood. I have no secrets, no shame. My truth is powerful and it flows out, red and real.
I mourn a world that sells vaginal deodorants and labioplasties, mandating us to buy products so we can finally wear white and no longer be ashamed by leaks and smells. Incessant messages urge us to pluck, shave, tighten, tuck, wax, perfume, and bleach, lest we offend.
And yet, my sons will never be told to buy something to cover the earthy scent of their penises or have surgery to even out their testicles. They will never be told that ejaculate is disgusting. No pads will perfume or catch drops of urine in their underwear. It weighs heavy on me, the first woman in their lives.
So much to undo before it is instilled into their sexual norms.
I stand tall, refusing to accept that the stain of original sin soils me until I bleach it out and shave it away. The very parts of me that grow and birth and feed new life are not unclean, foul, or unkempt. My sons will not believe the bullshit that odors and stray hairs are to be removed for the pleasure of a partner.
I refuse to let them think that orgasm only lies in the act of penile penetration. There is much magic to teach… an urgency to uncover the truths that will allow them to respect and embrace themselves and others just as they are.
This poem and my drawing offer redemption, truth, and raw power.
Cyclical magic is happening inside me.
I catch my blood and soak it back into my garden
irises bow in gratitude at this extra kindness.
I am soothed by the mundane spell of
my blood penetrating the earth.
We nourish each other intimately,
making communal love in the moonlight
as only women can.
We are the life-givers, grateful gatherers,
often rejected by those outside who fear the gift.
The crimson secret is ours and I embrace it each month.
My ritual soothes away the trappings of an old life,
fueled by fear and shame.
My blood is power as my body seeks
the rhythm and guidance of a
universe made for connections.
The menstrual cord gently tethers me back into the earth,
freeing me to explore the voices of the comadronas,
ancient words that guide me through the universal.
More layers are shed as my understanding sharpens.
True sacrament flows out of our intimacies.
This is the eucharist of sacred feminine
flowing freely, preparing for new life
in the dance of building up and letting go,
back to the earth each cycle.
The mystical power of gratitude dances into the circle;
it welcomes feminine wisdom
birthed in splendid internal darkness,
guided by the sacred light that pulls us together now,
in the rhythm of this story and the glow of the moon.
I lay my pen down, and rest in the spiral dance of emergence
 Comadronas are community midwives and healers. Their gifts are usually passed down through generations of wisdom collected in the indigenous groups of Central and South America.
Shannon Lockhart is a visionary artist, poet, mother, and healer. She is a native Louisvillian, but spent 12 years working with indigenous communities, genocide survivors, and other human rights activists in Guatemala, before returning to the U.S. with her family. Her greatest source of pride is her family, and she works hard to impart joy, gratitude, and respect for the unexpected bumps along the road . Shannon has published her poetry online with Rebelle Society and Women’s Spiritual Poetry, and in four anthologies of DoveTales, published by the group, Writing for Peace. She can frequently be found drumming in parks with her family, drawing, or reading her poetry at the Urban Goatwalker Coffeehouse in the Phoenix Hill neighborhood. You can find her art online, or connect with her on Facebook.