Eunice remembered the day she got her
She was late and nearly
Some friends would blush about it all
But on her red-banner day,
Eunice brazenly entered Murphy’s Pharmacy.
“A box of Kotex,” she said, loudly — proudly,
“And a belt with pins for sanitation napkins.”
“Congratulations, Eunice,” said Mr. Murphy.
For in the small town in which she
Eunice’s mother, Agnes McAdams, had clearly shared
This awaited late-arrival with
Mrs. Alice Murphy who had shared it with Mr. Douglas Murphy,
Her balding kindly pharmacist husband of some
Doc Murphy knew what ailed everyone in town
From prescriptions, gossip and his own homespun advice.
Time would pass
Without asking and
Some 40 years later when
The Murphy’s were long gone and the lone pharmacy dissolved into a chain of cold
Chemists, Eunice’s mother,
Agnes McAdams, died quickly — cancer
And Eunice’s period stopped just as abruptly.
It stopped flowing through her.
(Eunice would longingly look at the Tampax box
Knowing that of the 36 she bought on sale
Some 34 would now go to waste.
But for nostalgia’s sake
She held on to them
For her daughters, a visitor, but never for herself
And she questioned with this sudden stoppage
Was she useful to the Universe —
Without the hot-blooded reminder of
Fecundity? She wondered
Did this cessation equate with purpose?
Would she ever again feel the urge to be close to a man?
Would her recent divorce and celibacy in menses
Cause the ebb of her physical longing?
As the months would pass inevitably
She recovered heroically as in the days of “Kotex
Please.” And a new life force
Flowed into her.
Sometimes hot, sometimes erotic, sometimes sweaty with anxiety
She would grow to treasure the beat of her new
For she was equal now in Woman Power
To Man Power
She would no longer anticipate the dreaded
Run out of plugs in the middle of …
Nor worry about pregnancy
Or stains or wearing very
Or feel estranged from the Peter Principle.
For a new fierce self
A Female self in a man’s world.
Adieu to estrogen
Bon Voyage. Good riddance.
No balms or pills to restore what was lost
For she had found a drive
To being older
A graying woman forthright though blonde
A rara avis* to herself.
Eunice would spread her plumage
A palette of feathers
Burning brightly a kaleidoscope changing
Glorious and Necessary
Lustful and Powerful with possibilities
As ever and more
For as long as she had left to
* n., pl. ra·ra a·vis·es or ra·rae a·ves (râr’ē ā’vēz). A rare or unique person or thing.[Latin rāra avis : rāra, feminine of rārus, rare + avis, bird.]