issue no. 5 | fall 2021
Hormones and Clapton During First Period
It’s junior year in high school
and my English teacher is the hottest
creative soul any teenage girl or boy has seen.
He teaches us poetry, and at sixteen years old,
we know it’s all about feelings,
and love and
We’re not wrong,
but we’re not right either.
I have my period
and my blood-red focus
is not staining my pants
or having to stand up
to pass out papers.
It’s creative writing day,
My teacher says he created a playlist
to get our juices flowing,
little does he know
we thirst for him
without needing much help.
The first song is by Hall & Oates.
My class writes like gleeful chipmunks
delirious on what makes our dreams come true.
Desirae decides on a story about her adopted little brother, Owen,
and Allison writes about meeting Justin Timberlake after Jingle Ball.
There's a hum to the pens attacking paper.
Next up, a ballad.
Things are getting serious as LeAnn Rimes
tells us she can’t live without someone.
My recent AOL away message screaming
“Same, girl! Same!”
I look down at the four lines on my paper.
I’ve decided to write a poem about dreams.
So far ... it sucks.
LeAnn’s crooning made me think of words that rhyme with “you”.
I’d be lost if I lost you.
I rhyme when I write poems because it’s easy.
Blue, true, glue.
seven seconds of a song comes on
and I need to stand up.
My eyes hellbent for an exit
as the pad between my legs soaks up my feelings.
Eric Clapton is starting to tell us
about how strong he must be
and how he must carry on
and all I want to do is be carried away.
Period, be damned.
If this is what finally becoming a woman is,
witness blood smeared against my pants.
Know that this song only reminds me
of all of his blood lost in ruby brown puddles
five years that September.
When we went to place a memorial at the site
three months after my brother’s murder,
my uncle remarked while lighting a Newport,
“Wow. All that brown is dried blood.
You ever see that much brown before?
I sure haven’t.”
Do you know what dried blood on the side
of an isolated old Southern town road looks like?
It looks like earthy Tears in Heaven.
Soil and leaves and human life leakage
pooled between the toes
of a little sister’s sandals.
I cry my way out of the room in a blurry burst.
Brilliant and crimson and all anyone thinks is
“It must be her time of the month.”
Bree Bailey (she/her) is a new mom who lives in NJ with her partner and her beautiful baby poet. Bree has written since childhood and tends to reflect on growing up, falling in/out of love, and family. Bree loves tacos, cheese, laughter, and friendship, but gets anxious and delirious if they happen at the same time. Bree’s poems have been featured in Anti-Heroin Chic, Sledgehammer Lit, and is forthcoming in All My Relations, among others. Follow her on Instagram @breebaileypoetry or Twitter at @thebreebailey.