top of page
  • Julie Benesh

Paying It Forward


Almost every month I worried until it came

I was intact, virginal, but PMS rendered me paranoid

visions of sperm seeping as advice columnists

of the era insisted they could, through the pants

of a boy, the dress of a girl, while dancing

upright, even likelier in barer, more horizontal encounters,

penetration unnecessary, ejaculation optional.

I got married; eschewed hormones. Slips occurred

yet I could not imagine motherhood. After the divorce

I took the pills for five varicose years, bubbling with nausea with each daily dose, my orgasms

muffled and far away, my fake periods viscous as pudding.

When I stopped and the inevitable occurred, yes,

it was my own grown human fault. At the clinic

a few blocks from my house, already bleeding

as if in anticipation; a woman was retching, a girl

was crying. They gave me a test to confirm then told me

it was chemical, no procedure needed. I handed them all

my sweaty cash for those less lucky, more deserving, than I.


Julie Benesh has published work in Tin House, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Hobart, JMWW, Maudlin House, New World Writing, Cleaver, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere, and her 46-poem chapbook ABOUT TIME is forthcoming from Cathexis Northwest Press. She is graduate of Warren Wilson College's MFA Program and recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant. Read more at

147 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All
bottom of page