Red

By Shiksha Dheda

*Content Warning: This piece discusses menstruation, body image, mental illness, OCD, and blood.

I hate the colour red.

Loud, lively
– promiscuous.

The stains I tried to hide
-warmth trickling down my
thick trembling thighs-

my body literally
chewing itself
-spitting itself out of my vagina.

Like a thick phlegm ball
when you have a nasty cold.

The bra I felt too ashamed to wear
-C,
larger than most bosoms are at 10.

Too bright.
Too loud.
Too sexy.
Too noticeable

-unwanted attention.

The ribbons I wore in my hair
when I finally decided to let 
my hair grow

-past my earlobes-
-past my neckline-
-past my shoulder blades.

When I liked people noticing me,
noticing my femininity
-my womanhood.

When I finally stopped trying to be
a boy

-the son my parents had always waited for

-always wanted-
-always wished for-
but never arrived.

The stains that enshroud my palms
-my fingers-
my nails.

Scrubbing.
Washing
Scrubbing.

Trying to quiet the thoughts in my
monopolised mind;
trying to catch the truant firefly

from burning through all my other
desires

-from eroding what’s left of my personality.

I hate the colour red.

It reminds me that I am still alive.
Summarising my breasts, vagina,
womanhood, disorders and all
-in one 

bright burgundy splatter.

Published by HLWW Featured Author

Featured Author of the Heartland Society of Women Writers

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