On the Rag: No Bins, No Incinerator [1962]

I was ten, when I first bled. Pads, slung
between my legs, soaked up red blooms.
Once a month, excused from games,
I carried a maroon bucket-bag to school
filled with fresh towels, and paper bags
for soiled ones. The stale, metallic smell
stank; Flooded by grim shame; terrified
the boys might wrench my tote, awful,
and malodorous, from my clammy hands
and empty my dignity onto the tarmac
of our playground.
I aspired to kick shins
hard, to warn them off before they started,
but as a good girl, my fantasy was stillborn.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon
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