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 juliebenesh.com.