Menopause

Gioconda Belli
Nicaraguan
b. 1948

 

So far,
all over the world,
women have survived it.
Perhaps it was that our grandmothers were stoic
or, that back then, they weren’t entitled to complain,
still they reached old age
wilting bodies
but strong souls.
Now, instead,
dissertations are written on the subject.
As early as thirty agony sets in,
Foretelling the catastrophe.

A body is much more than the sum of its hormones.
Menopausal or not
a woman remains a woman,
beyond the production of secretions or eggs.
To miss a period does not imply the loss of syntax
or coherence;
it shouldn’t lead to hiding
as a snail in a shell,
nor provoke endless brooding.
If depression sets in
it won’t be a new occurrence,
each menstrual cycle has come to us with tears
and its load of irrational anger.
There is no reason, then,
to feel devalued:
Get rid of tampons
and sanitary napkins!
Use them to light a bonfire in your garden!
Be naked
Dance the ritual of aging
And survive
Like so many
Before you.

Translation by Charles Castaldi

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