Three Poems by Nellene Benhardus


The sea monster warred deeply enough 
to warrant the respect, the submissive 
acquiescence of victory. 
Briny waves in the mornings’ cave,
hungry scorch of intrusion at night, these
were sharply sensory and granted partial 
reign over reality. Terror is esteem to a rational
mind; fear, a strange sort of affection. 
Thus her confusion, contempt,
at the nurse’s sanguine laughter
administering the reductive simplicity 
of modern medicine.





Black hair mats in coiled clumps,
sticks sweaty brow, spread
near the head of a second
best bed. He left the play
at intermission, fails
to see the best of this banal performance.




“Its Own Season”

Quiet, crisp the early morning air
rests lightly on a layer of dew on grass,
brown broken glass—beer bottle 
thrown on a road once used.
Now only do the old men walk here,
young men in the woods make love
to girls who still experiment with womanhood.
But wait—not yet—the world is now too green
this final hour before the springtime season.
See how leaves push to their place,
breaking eggshell earth,
unaware that last year in this place
another flower struggled, bloomed, and died?




Nellene Benhardus is a PhD Candidate at the University of Iowa and an adjunct professor.  Past poetry has won a national award and a short story has been included in a literature textbook.