Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

My Frenemy, The Super Plus Tampon by Valerie Nies

Valerie Nies Headshot

Like a girl from high school with whom one shares
an eating disorder and a zip code,
we bonded out of necessity.

Vanilla cheerleader transformed into wavy redhead.
In only 1.5 hours. My period, prompt like a junior
league tea time ritual. Dense scones soaking
up pools of clotted cream.

Chumming around, codependent.
You only adored me when I was dizzy and weak.
I used you. Gave you (and your 35 friends)
purpose. A monthly hazing.

The reason you found your way into my late 30s
ended up being the cause of our eventual rift:
anemia induced by orange-sized, eggplant-shaped unnecessary
tissue, a fruit basket of fibroids, pressing, pushing, bullying
the parts of me that never became anything.
The becomeless, mopped up with your necessary tissue.

Blood sisters.
Pacts between you and me—between
my uterus and a future version of me I never made—
babble-language translator, tuition saver, curfew enforcer—
broken.

After kicking my uterus out of the clique,
I dug out the extras of you from my bathroom cabinet,
handed them to every woman I ever met.
A period Santa Claus.

Now when I push
my cart through Target on my way to buy cotton
balls and conditioner, I ignore your aisle. Pretend
not to see you, not to remember my lost
sorority membership card.

Valerie Nies is a gluten enthusiast whose writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, Reductress, Hash Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, and other online destinations. Her chapbook, Imaginary Frenemies, is forthcoming from Toho Publishing. Find her in Austin, Texas, ridding her clothing of cat hair. She’s also on Twitter/IG @valerieknees and at valerienies.com.

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