first blood flows
you think
it’s a cut
not realizing it’s
the unkindest cut of all
you can bear
children now
you are an
grown up
you are 12
years old
ducking into
unknown toilets
to unpin & pin
tape & untape
blackened blood
its mild stench
you know
everyone knows
the bus driver
the no-longer
kid friends
(the pre-12
pervert who
no longer
proffers his
penis to you
in the park)
teachers & traitors
on the dry periphery
far from your
wet white thigh
freezy december
hot red leak
you are a freak

After Lila & Lenù

you live on a
clotted planet
of pink slips
& butch gym
teachers may
i be executed?
(a freudian slip)
you hatch it out
it’s my aunt flo
i’m on the rag
red flag
crimson tide
(not) mother
nature’s gift
(not) red badge
of courage
but shark week
i am cursed
1st tampon
your mother
outside your
13 year old b/r
push it in
you say
which hole?
bloody & terrified
blue school uniform
peter pan collar
shorted knee socks
lace-up oxfords
i only have 2 holes
where’s the 3rd?
where should
i push it in?


knowing as you
find the 3rd
it’s all over
the climbing tree
the kid to kid
pat & walk the dog
being as alive
& unseen as
any creature
can be before
i take u / mate u
from now on it’s all
guys & power
what he’s got
& what you got
breasts legs & curls
girls against girls
you got yours
& you learn how
to use it & reuse it
you are flirted
unshirted still
not knowing
the why of it
you learn to give
it & take it
x-ing your xxs
for his xys
first blood





Miranda Beeson was a winner of Palette Poetry’s 2019 Spotlight Award (for her poem “There’s a Rattle, Sometimes”). She was also a recipient of the Jody Donohue Poetry Prize. New poems can be found in Barrow Street, Southampton Review, and The Laurel Review. She is the author of Ode to the Unexpected (Shrinking Violet Press) and a new collection of poems, Wildlife. She received her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton, teaches undergraduate creative writing at Stony Brook, and lives in Cutchogue & New York City. For additional information, visit www.mirandabeeson.com.