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
damped …oscillation …
slows … itself …down, whereas
entropy accelerates dis or der
grad u al ly,
Su d d e
n l y.
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.
standard of living accordingly.
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,
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,
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 juliebenesh.com.
"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."