Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life's blood and the Angel of Death

Kipling West, a painter and artist interprets a verse from this week's parsha.

Exodus 12.23: “For when the Lord goes through to smite the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, and the Lord will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home.”

The curse. The red flower. A visit from Aunt Flo; call it what you will, I knew damn well I didn’t want it. All the cute nicknames and scratchy little filmstrips in gym class couldn’t hide what seemed to be obvious: menstruating is disgusting.
I had two stepsisters, big blonde girls with a Christian mother. Both of them bled before me, and one was 2 years younger. Somehow I decided that I hadn’t bled because I was smaller and Jewish; perhaps if I kept my head down and kept quiet, the Angel of Blood would pass over my house and never force me into that horrible reconstruction, throw me into adulthood, bury my child’s body in curves and hair and monthly pain, inviting even more awful, unknowable things once I had Changed.

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