they told her
hot-flashes are bad
she couldn’t see how
feeling hot was an infuriation
she was always cold
when the first hot flash came
unbidden and sudden
like a white burning sword
the night she had sinned
by eating a little pizza
she believed at first it was retribution
for her transgression or
the heat of the night
but even the cicadas didn’t agree
the night was balmy and smooth
not on fire
and she
before her time
being too young
osteoporosis and heart disease a danger
for the youthful who inherit menopause early
the bed drenched
her arms feeling like wires of fire
inhabited them
throat sore and dry, wild eyed
she paced the cool floor
shaking and changing
hot to cold
this is too soon
her calcium levels complained
this is too early
her rapid heart beat whispered
not yet, surely not yet
the elasticity in her breasts and neck prayed
we do not
we are not
for rapid ageing
she had noticed
the parchment quality of her hands
dried up like no rain had touched the sand
she had noticed her lack of desire and anxious thrum
thinking it was life
doing its worst as usual
when you experience what you read about
it’s always different in person
now it was her turn
to look back on a life
not yet nearly finished
as if she were further down
the endless conveyer belt already
skip love, marriage, pregnancy, first child
first lost tooth, baby puke
go straight to crone-hood
she told herself
this doesn’t mean your hair will thin
this doens’t mean your genitals will dim
this doesn’t mean your breasts will plunge
this doesn’t mean your waist will swell
this doesn’t mean you’ll never sleep well
this doesn’t mean you’ll catch fire
walking past sulpher
but deep down she knew
yes this is the precipise of all those things
wish I had a robust career to make up for
losing too soon
the other boons of life
wish I had a child in my arms
to comfort me when
I feel it’s over already before I found motherhood
this is the torch of an end
maybe a beginning but
of what?
she didn’t know
anymore than realizing
how a hot flash is not just two words
easily dismissed
but a raging foaming sea of fire
she stood
in the quiet bedroom
burning mute
a novel odd feeling for one
accustomed to saying
please turn down the air conditioning I’m frozen!
she had an sudden desire
to stand beneath a huge fan
to dive into ice
to peal off her skin
and in so doing lose
the disapointment of this too soon
I’m not ready
who is?
who is ready to say goodbye
to hopeful youth and dreams?
and they who are older than her
will say tomorrow when she confides
her bad luck
oh it’s not forever and
there’s a lot to look forward to
she knows that
and still
there is a girl behind her
the shell from whom she has molted
a crysalis girl
dried out and sillouetted
against the fire
she is sad that she is not
still waiting for the moment
she will inherit herself
and must instead find a way to quench
this new
and terrible
her morning