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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Wave; Divorce Casserole; Going Coastal

By: Julie Benesh


Manometers measure pressure

but the act of observation

changes the observed.

Bitter pattern is like spewing iron

dust on paper over magnet, and a ghost

traces remnants of

radiation that strayed.

Keepers preserve magnetism and latent

heat overcomes attractive forces.

Neutral equilibrium suggests stability but, moi…

I am not, by definition, a hot heat keeper, as vectors

measure distance, not displacement, i.e.,

we live together but are, indisputably,


wavicle is just a cute

nickname for a photon:

wave plus particle, (sitting in a tree?) –

tabloid’s celebrity couple’s shorthand


Overtone is, likewise, strictly musical, so

perversion is not of unusual

significance and horizontal

intensity is stable only in Britain,

fluctuating everywhere else,

making no sense.

Cascade processes occur in stages

(like cancer in us animals, or

irreconcilability in these makeshift

social pods we humans

call marriage)

damped …oscillation …

slows … itself …down, whereas

entropy accelerates dis or der

grad u al ly,

Su d d e

n l y.

Divorce Casserole

Blanche when you get

served: you didn’t see it coming; he’s already

sampled every lawyer in town, leaving none for you.

Extract friends’ knowledge of his

buffet grazing and

tasting menu. When did they

smell your marriage was …put a

fork in it…


(Beat it out of them, as needed.)

Spread rumors about his job or


serves him right!

Sift through your black and white memories

halve everything: all your


sweet and savory, breaking

bread with offspring and friends.

Reduce your

standard of living accordingly.

Scrape together

leftovers from fam and friends.

Salt with tears to



Set aside: your differences for children and dignity.

Divide your grief into

ramekins where it won’t

poison the whole

menu. Let it

cool until you can

taste it without

burning, until you can

measure all the ways each component

ingredient has sustained you:

raw, cooked, refined,

combined, separated.

Going Coastal

Into the living room, through to the kitchen:

the house was brimming empty.

Soundless noises; intense absence. Outside,

farm tools sat among sullen

sparrows pecking under a willow

by the red pump.

That girl was here by herself:

golden lashes framing wary eyes;

muscle twitching twixt ear and jaw;

tang of pennies on the tongue.

She’d been waiting weeks

for this encounter,

but none of that must show.

Out here, she was not powerless,

Just barren.

Here, she would watch

water wending its way

to the ocean.

Here, there would be

a burial at sea.


A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers, Julie Benesh is recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant and her writing can be found in Bestial Noise: A Tin House Fiction Reader, Tin House Magazine (print), Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Gulf Stream, Hobart, New World Writing, Cleaver, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and many other places. Read more at

"I wrote these three poems, and several others, in the summer of 2021. I consider these three poems as phenomenological, focusing on subjective lived experiences involving trauma and metabolism. Writing and reading, cooking and eating, working and resting are embodied processes, working through a set of tasks or rituals to arrive at transformation. "Wave" and "Divorce Casserole'' talk to each other, looking at the same crisis from different time and aesthetic perspectives. The narrator of "Wave," attracted, as many of us are, to both the evocative language and ultimate authority of physics, uses it to describe the deterioration of her marriage. "Divorce Casserole" was inspired by a list of cooking verbs that struck me as weirdly apt for the subject; and recipes' list format often look more like poems than prose, long and skinny on the page. Plus many of us seek guidance in crisis, so the imperative tone is apt. "Going Coastal" is more mysterious. The back story and future of its protagonist is noir-ish and murky, but I sense she has been betrayed and returns to the scene of the crime for a baptism and rebirth."


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