Slap Jack While Bleeding in Silence by Evie G. - 1st Place, 7th-8th Grade Category

I wanted to write the poem
But I couldn´t
Until now
After It happened

The blood that comes once a month
The blood no one talks about
The blood

Why can boys be praised for blood
For being tough
While girls hide it
For
They´re just as tough

It happened to me
At lunch
When the sun was high
And the wind was low
We had finished our meal
And went to the
Red
Benches
And played slap jack

We stood
Making a rhythm
Of cards
Making music
Until a smack
The smack of our hands
On the
Beaten and ripped
Jack

Those two girls circled us
Walking around
A grade higher than us
Then they stopped
And watched us

But, I wasn't watching
I was smashing
A card
Against the bench

But then one of them
Walked over
She bent low
And told me

You have a leak
I sucked in all the air
Never exhaling
Not wanting to believe
But I nodded
Confirming a terrible fate

Ok
I said

And
That
Was
It

I dropped my cards
My world started to freeze
I stared
Not moving

What's wrong
They said
And I told them

But my voice was starting to
Crack
And rise in panic
She nodded
C´mon
We have to go to the bathroom
I did and I took my bag
With my jacket
Tied around my waste

The two girls watched as we walked
Surveying the scene

I changed a pad
And went to the office
With
My friend
Her mom works there
And she whispered it all to her
She called my mom
But said
I´d have to wait

We went back to the benches
To play with them
But I couldn´t
I already felt the lump in my throat

Everyone was laughing and talking
And playing and
I felt alone

I felt like I was helpless
I had no control over it
All the blood

But they played
And my friend
A he
Came over to play to
I couldn't even laugh
As he cheated in the game

A surge of anger erupted inside me
He would never have to go through
This
He would never know its pain
Of embarrassment
Did he even know about the blood?

For the next period
I went on
Like nothing was wrong
But it was
Everything was

No one talks about the blood
This must happen to others
If it happened to me
I must not be alone

But why
Is nobody talking
Why is everyone silent

It's so embarrassing
For something
Normal
Happen to you
I wish people would
Acknowledge it
And it wouldn't be
Something that makes you feel alone
And ashamed
And embarrassed

This
Brought me closer to one of my friends
But it also brought me closer
To humiliation
And made me realize that
We can´t keep being silent
We need to move forward
And talk
And support
We need to break this taboo
Shatter it
Into millions of pieces

But it's up to all of us
And that one choice
Like those two girls
To tell me
Or to not
Matters
If we want to destroy
This taboo

You are definitely not alone
period.

-- Evie G.