As for her children, she has already let them go, broken shells flecked in gold-- could they be poppies?—some bright-blurred, orange flames
draped in black crepe, knowing that everything she’d done had brought her to this. Forever, how it could fill the hand: the smallest
green heron in the nest. In the stillness, home is a prison made of gingerbread. Moving through it like wind, in the dark alive. The giant
jolt. New words for solace, one of which is knifed. Death is everywhere and pretends to be life. Truth seems ancient, surrounded by
moisture, where loneliness languishes in narrow beds. Down here the eye is its own lantern, no answer from its flat, gray face,
pounding on the door she never used to lock. Quiet as knives on the spring-punched street, the répétiteur leads her through,
spirit sparkling in communion and discipline. Every theory lingers in the cavities. Eventually the undoing will cease, up there in a
vacuum littered with satellites for seeing the whole world. Wars and all. Aligned in a miniature xylophone: the failures, the losses, the broken path.
Yes, it was splendid, that echo and echo: compost onionskins, zucchini stumps, damp ribbons of peeled carrot.
using poems published in 2020; sources available on request
-- Jen Karetnick’s fourth full-length book is The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020), a CIPA EVVY winner, an Eric Hoffer Poetry Category Finalist, and a Kops Fetherling Honorable Mention. She is also the author of Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023) in addition to six other collections. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts, DIAGRAM, The Dodge, Notre Dame Review, The Penn Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere.