Menarch by Stephanie Simpson

I eye the thin stretch of fabric between my legs.

I am just eleven years old, but there it is.

Silent tears fall.

I have used all the rolls of toilet paper

But the red doesn’t stop.

I hug myself there in the bathroom until

Heavy pounding shakes the door.


I stand swiftly and pull the handle.

A rush of water

My breath catches

A swirl of red and white arises

Desperate now, I pull the handle, again and again.

My tears cascade down, hot like the blood

still flowing down my brown thighs.

Despairing, I slowly open the door.



I am shoved aside.

He sees my shame.

His jaws clench

Nostrils flare

His white skin reddens in rage as he sees the water rise.

His belt raises

My screams punctuate each slap.

Water continues to flow

A steady stream of red

Signaling I am no longer a child. 
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

About the Poet:

Stephanie Simpson (she/her) was born in Japan and was raised as a military brat. Writing helps her process her experiences as a biracial, first generation Filipina-American. Topics she enjoys exploring include navigating identity politics, mental health, and intergenerational trauma healing.

Instagram: @living.between.the.lines

Twitter: @stephwaxpoetic

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