a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
so dense it doesn’t float
I’ve been reduced to not being able to stand up in the shower
poetic, considering how much
the wood has given to ocean travel
Even reading a book is challenging and exhausting
an escaped ornamental
pruned to maintain a narrower profile
I don’t understand what’s happening in my body
the leaf is made of more
than one leaf-like part
Every day you wake up and you might have a different symptom
from a distance
like clouds of purple
I’ve had messages saying this is all in your head
as the non-native is not invasive
at the northernmost range
I understand there are so many unknowns
not so easily warped by humidity
or temperature changes
As a patient, I need acknowledgment
as a generalization, then,
it suffers from a reputation as slow
It has gotten better, but I track that trajectory in weeks, not days
similar to pomegranate seeds
either one is a worthwhile endeavor
Being a survivor is something you must also survive
Note: This poem is comprised of phrases found from the following two articles
of knots and thorny greens, purge
my gums until all my words run clear.
When expecting the hoe to strike
glacial till at any time, nerves numb;
blood performs its prickly retreat. Still,
every evening the news is an attack.
Politicians eschew masks, fidget with
faces as they broadcast our sacrificial
itineraries. Nurseries shut down but no
one plants the guts of peppers, the punky
eyes of potatoes, crowns of half-rotted
pineapples. Cyclists ride and ride, heads
bared to the sun, so many early melons.
The smog clears but plastic mountains
peak. There’s marrow to harvest here
if only I were keeping such bones to roast.
closed, it pumps pallid circulation,
resists the serrated knife of consumption.
Where is the grace to gentle our children
who ache to catch wild cobalt in untethered
arms? Whose elevated longings we hear
on a pitch that intensifies with the strength
of the season, the insistent changing of tides?
Pried open, this country quivers in a curry
of tears. An altering liquor to filter. A rampant,
Jen Karetnick is the author of five full-length poetry collections, including Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023); The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, forthcoming August 2020); and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. She is also the author of five poetry chapbooks, including The Crossing Over (March 2019), winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition. Her poems have been awarded the Hart Crane Memorial Prize, the Romeo Lemay Poetry Prize, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, and two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes, among others. Her work appears recently or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, The Comstock Review, december, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain, Under a Warm Green Linden, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, Jen is currently a Deering Estate Artist-in-Residence.