Sensitive Dependence by Julie Benesh


On our first date, I left nothing to chance,

wearing (advised by my guy friends) my black

sweater with the bright stripes across the bust.


We both had Beef Wellington and I spit

the paté discreetly into my hand,


mortified, while “Melt with You” was playing,


as you gazed at me, like I was night sky,

a star you interviewed on red carpet.


Later I’d learn that Lindemann’s theory

of melting says that it’s when the amplitude

of atomic vibration, equalized,

creates harmony, common frequency,


and reasonable agreement; thus, while

burning, alone, we would, together, melt.


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. Her chapbook ABOUT TIME is forthcoming from Cathexis Northwest Press. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant. Read more at