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Rains, Rivers and Cups

Dara Kalima

This morning,
on my own time,
I disrobed,
leaving the long gown to lay
with the slumber,
and I stepped into the tub.
I turned on the shower
setting its temperature
somewhere between
lukewarm and cool.
I chose my more abrasive
exfoliating African Loofah net
to assist in the daily routine.
4 pumps of body soap.
Pump. Pump. Pump. Pump.
Lathering loofah then body.
Contently inhaling
the essence of vanilla
as I awaken all parts of me:
face, neck, arms, pits, nipples,
follicles, thighs, labia, anus, toes.
All cleaned and lovingly stimulated.
I linger as the man-made rain
washes away any remnants of
yesterday, sleep, and suds.
I stay here breathing,
savoring the kiss
of each drop
as if pecked by my lover
again and again
along every curve.
And when the mood passes,
and I’m satisfied,
I turn the knobs and
exit the shower.
Body gets dabbed delicately
by the plush terry
as to not drip through the next steps
while not yet drying my sensitive skin.
Then teeth meet paste and electric brush,
and tongue meets scraper.
Feeling that familiar internal discomfort
even before lotion seals moisture

I grab my floral panties and
reach for the ultra-thin pad,
not yet ready for the cup.
The rush will be here soon.
And I laugh, then
the edges of the expression
give way to gravity,
corners descending heavily.
I place $30 lotion on my skin
thinking of that comedic episode,
based on an unfunny reality,
where the inmate
held a 5oz plastic drinking cup,
not knowing the menstrual ones
are made of silicone.
She debated trying to insert the rigid tool
into her sensitive spaces
because the prison refused
to provide ample supplies.
Tampons were a luxury,
cups a dream,
and that pad made for eight hours
was stretched to eight days, but
hysterectomies were free
and coerced.
My sisters in pain,
bonded by rivers of blood,
were flooding like their names were
Katrina or Sandy,
avoidable tragedies
that weren't worth the investment.
At that moment,
in that moment,
I stopped my routine
and let emotions rain instead.



Dara Kalima, also known as The Community Poet, is a Bronx resident who explores the concepts of love, equity, and healing all through lived experiences and personal observations. She has performed internationally and Off-Broadway. She is the host of On Behalf Of podcast. She can often be found wandering through the streets of New York City, taking in the sights, sounds, smells while seeking that spark that will inspire her next poem. Kalima has authored four books, including Two X Chromosomes with an Extra Shot of Melanin (2019) and Still Laughin’ (2021).

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