James Benger


he can’t let go of it
that old rag
crusted with blood
lingering in the bedroom
of his single wide

that blue and white trailer
which is every day
sinking further into the mud

and sure it’s his blood
but she put it there
or at least started the flow
that necessitated the
ripped scrap of linen

there might’ve been
plenty of consuming fire
in their brief time
but there were also

and though the rag came from
it conjures memories
of quiet nights
of boxed wine
and whispered promises

he thinks of the rag
touches the scar
above his lip
and dreams of a future
rooted in their past



she finds peace
in the stream
out in the woods
on the other side of the tracks
outside of the park

that same stream
where many of the denizens
find a truth
outside of the bottle
or the pipe
or the fists

brown water trickling
she sinks to her knees
and almost prays
to the water
to herself
maybe even to a god

more than anything
she prays to
the force in herself
the willingness
the need to
keep on

eyes closed
knees in leaves and mud
she chants
don’t leave me
please don’t leave me

it goes on so long
she never notices
when she begins to
say it out loud


James Benger has written a bunch of stuff. Some of it has even been published in print and on the interwebs. So far there are three chapbooks, four splits, and two full-lengths. He is the resident slacker on the Board of Directors of the Writers Place, and is the most truant member of the Riverfront Readings Committee. He is also the admin of an online poetry workshop called 365 Poems in 365 Days. He lives and Kansas City with his wife and children.