“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Julie Benesh

Lamberts Cove Beach by Tain Leonard-Peck

I rode that proverbial horse
to some more proverbial rodeos.
Back in the           saddle.

I took those pills you wanted
me to. You got that operation.
Isn’t it ironic? Which is not to say

coincidental, not at all. Quite the opposite.
Which is in itself ironic, so, same difference.
You thought I would starve or, at best,

find a sugar daddy to feed me ribeye
and frozen custard. But as I said at the time,
that’s too easy. You know me: gotta do it my own way.

Since you’ve been gone I’ve mostly been begged
to stay─ a few exceptions make the rule
credible; remind me of the standard

I set, the margin. Science is replicable; math
logical. That never changes. But humans
are of science without having to know science

much at all. I recall your hate for random weirdness
and your blindness to your own, the only kind
that really matters. You know what they say

about hindsight, how it twists every cliche,
like a                                        well,          
you know what


Julie Benesh has published stories, poems, and essays in Tin House, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Hobart, JMWW, Cleaver, Maudlin House, and many other places. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant. She lives in Chicago.

Tain Leonard-Peck writes poetry, plays, and short stories, and is completing his first novel. He is also an actor, monologist, and model. He paints and composes music, and is a competitive sailor, skier, and fencer. His work has been published in literary journals, including the 2020 Anthology of Youth Writing on Human Rights & Social Justice; TAEM; Sleet Magazine; The Elevation Review; Idle Ink; Crack The Spine Magazine; The Riva Collective; Molecule; Multiplicity Magazine; Czykmate; and others. He won Honorable Mention for the Creators of Literary Justice Award, by IHRAF, the largest human rights art festival in the world; was a finalist for #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence; and won the first place Poetry Fellowship to the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing.