To My Last Period


For 30 years you muscled onto my calendar

in red ink. And always the week before your arrival

I slept badly, adrift in a lightless fog,

till you showed up and twisted my guts into knots.


Each month you cracked that red whip,

and, baby, I never failed to jump.


So many times I wanted to do myself in

days before you dropped by, but now I guess I’ll outlast you:


the widow’s revenge. And when you’re gone for good,

I’ll clean out my closet, flaunt a white skirt and sip


red wine without spilling. I’ll dream of grenadine,

kisses of saffron and poppy—but never you.



Photo By: Ira Gelb


About Author

Karen Kovacik is the author of several collections of poetry, including Metropolis Burning, Beyond the Velvet Curtain and Nixon and I. Her work as a poet and translator has received numerous honors, including the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, a fellowship in literary translation from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland for her translations of contemporary Polish poetry. In 2013, her booklength translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist appeared from White Pine Press, and in 2014, her anthology of Polish women poets, Calling Out to Yeti, is also forthcoming from White Pine. She served as Indiana’s Poet Laureate from 2012-2014.

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