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CAS for Database

Nathan Lee

Cupertino, CA

Monta Vista High School


for blake brockington, brandon teena, zander mahaffey...

they buried you in a rainstorm

with cemetery dirt stuck to their soles.

your tombstone said

you will be missed,

friend, sister, daughter.

they remembered you by the name

that should have passed

long before you did.

if a boy overdoses

if a boy hangs himself

if a boy jumps off a bridge

if a boy steps into traffic

is he still a boy?

what a shame. what a tragedy.

she had a bright future, you know. 

she was such a beautiful girl.

such a beautiful girl.

such a beautiful girl.


I was initially captivated by how subtle this story lures the reader in. The unembellished language reflects an admirable level of control and composure, creating a swift dichotomy between the emotional turbulence the speaker likely harbors. For underneath the compact, whip-smart stylings lies a deep vein of sadness and anger, imbued with the very humanity that tragically renders us both vulnerable and violent.

Nathan Lee is an emerging transgender poet. He graduated from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino in California in 2020, and currently attends UC Davis. More of his work can be found on his Instagram (@poetrynate) or website,


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