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First Blood / On the Crafting of the Cover

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The first day blood fled from my insides

& rushed down my legs in exile. I was twelve.

My mom told me it was early. I didn’t know what

it was but I knew it was painful.

The day before, I had discovered

I was allergic to milk.

dat baby will hit yo head with a bottle

after drinking all the milk in seconds was how my family described me.

Everyone thought I would grow to be tall.

I’m only 5’3” & they seem slightly disappointed. Me too.

Looking back I think I lacked nourishment.

Milk was nourishing, until it wasn’t.

Then it became a toxin.

I’m young & knew nothing of this body

Other than sometimes things felt good until they didn’t & sometimes things

shed & it’s painful.

These lessons are important for me now. I still don’t drink milk & every day I

become better acquainted with pain. My great-aunt told me I could be anything I wanted to


I wondered if someday I could be a girl who didn’t bleed? I

wondered if someday I could also not be a girl?

I wondered if all girls bled. I knew my mom did, but

what about the other ones?

Online-forms, applications, people ask me about my gender.

I’m that girl who isn’t even a girl who no longer bleeds.

I am not like my mom who still does. I eat tiny white pills for breakfast and skip the

sugary fake ones so that I may skip my period. These pills were not made to make me feel at home in this way,

but they do.

But sometimes blood still comes through as if in defiance as if in an act

of rebellion. My body’s rebellion is two fold – will reject what I put in and reject parts

of me from within. A reminder that with this body my ability to control is minimal. A

reminder that with this body shedding is inevitable. A reminder that everyday I must

become better acquainted with pain.


On Crafting the Cover…


When thinking of menstruation, I meditated and thought deeply on what that means, how that feels, what processes are occurring. I have a complicated relationship with menstruation but do think there’s this element of rebirth that appeals to me. Particularly, rebirth and cycles and replenishing. So I began to think about those ideas and the things that remind me of that and how all these elements, the snake, the butterflies, fungi, plants, the moon, and us are all in conversation, all a part of this intricate cycle.

About the Author: Cy X - They / Them

Cy X is a black queer multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. They are currently a MPS candidate at The Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Cy is interested in exploring black queer futures and abolitionist possibilities through emerging technology, immersive environments, and performances. Along with writing poetry, they also experiment with digital and three-dimensional art.

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