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The Infinite Comings of Age

by Julie Benesh 

At the open                 graveside of your then-husband’s

grandfather, yourself long out of grandparents

by then, your mother buried five years, you lift your hand,

dreamily releasing the fragrance: rosemary and clove

serum from your hair, and the first time,

that thing you thought could never happen to you, you

were always so cautious and fearful, you are stung in the finger

by a bee, and before you can say anaphylaxis

you remember that burly bookstore jock you were made to fire

a decade before, when things were different, but not all that different,

and how bee sting reactions get worse every time, sensitization,

though you’d think they should get less bad, desensitization,

and you are not that different, either, just different

enough to know how to deploy employees to more appropriate opportunities,

as if it were a favor, and honeybees die after just one sting,

but your ex-husband will live on, more or less, as will you.

About the Author

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, and her poetry 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

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