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Valedictorian Speech, Apocalypse, I fell ill in English class, Writing Poetry in Menstrual Blood

Valedictorian Speech 


And I know child prodigies never live past 18, but you’ve 

looked asphyxiated and a little lost since the 9th grade


inventing combinations of initials to dedicate your victories to 

while Chi Ta-wei and Sylvia Plath collect dust by your bed


Familiarity with a new city, summers full of heat and storm

The thunder you find most pacifying, gives you confidence &


helps you erase the warmth only found beneath rural lamps 

and amber snow. You kill and regret it not once, not even when you


remember the day your mother came to the piano, two small bottles 

dangling between her fingers. “Let's paint our nails after your lesson.”


& plummeting off your blue and pink bike into the grassy hill

it’s not like you’ll ever get the chance to fall in anything else. 


Makes you a little sadistic, so you start poking at 

pretty metaphors until they collapse into piles of ash


like a real city girl, leaving endings unburied and unmourned, 

standing in this little row of black gowns with skinny ankles 


to choose a prompt for your final quiz, either: 

“Was it worth it?” or “How could I have done better?” 






every other person in the city of Chicago evaporate 

twisted and plucked away by the senselessness of poets


all the white men who try to eat your lips when they

kiss you, and all the churches and their crosses


abandoning the bridges and beach, naked as a blueprint

finally tears away the old girl and imprints this fresh version


in your irises, which I would flood with the brightness of 

headlights or a breaking fever, for the pleasure of offending 


your delicate sensibilities and fragile composition

if only I could locate you in this ghost town 


& I would swallow 7 or 8 pomegranate seeds without complaint

to prove that Persephone was only a flawed first draft


let you perform a spell on me, devil disguised as an exorcist,

so I haunt all the empty bars for several noons


until the blue sky starts to boil with large white stars 

soft and strange like blisters, and following their trails of pus


called constellations, I would finally find you in the park

trying to warm yourself with memories of the people who had 




I fell ill in English class


and fled to the bathroom to leave skin cells on its tiles 

avoid ibuprofen so I could be diagnosed with masochism 

ponder the depth of the ache within my body 

feel the edge of my belly for a switchblade opening 

its jaw of teeth to bite affectionately at my 13th rib 

a phantom pain, trying so hard to hurt for something 

not here, makes me a true, cruel poet. 


Writing Poetry in Menstrual Blood


for lack of a pen during the fever 

collect it in a bottle and lace it 

with cyanide from your nightstand

become round and swaying with poetry 

to avoid stating the truth, plucking out

your tongue to avoid choking on it

reread and lick blood from your fingers

with satisfaction, forgetting its cyanide


watching spittle mix with your blood

in the toilet’s porcelain mouth 

as you bed the earliest symptoms of

producing spells in garamond instead of

eggs and ink your veins instead of

sperm, welcoming blue asphyxiation 



N.Y. Sun is a writer from Seattle.

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