She lays them out like marbles,

The flesh ones and the white

On the calendar of her life.

She blesses her flesh

(Though the Man says she has no right)

And tells it Thank you, but let’s hold it.

This month, I will go to Girl Scout camp.

I will bleed through it, but I will do it.

I will learn to tie the knots. To climb the trees.

This month,

She says (another marble moving),

I will fall in love.

I will know what it is to lose him,

I will learn to keep the love for myself without.

And so on, she went:

This month, a novel. A graduate degree. A chance to see the world.

(My mother says beware, she thinks,

My grandmother thinks I am a ware, she feels,

I say I am aware, she says; not a where for some small thing that is as unready as I am unwilling).

I will bleed through it, I will bleed for it all,

I do not mind.