A Contrapuntal of Light-Dependent Reactions
the surface shoots of spring
photosynthesize into warrens
adored by ants and mining bees
o protector of pollen and seed of bloodroots
see how the sanguinaria burrows through
these blossoms in bare relief
leaves clasping petals
like chapped hands in prayer
communal rovers they are
never quite released
After In Silence with all Subjection and In the Hand of Life by Nancy Smith
The woman with a fist for a mouth
builds a nest with the text of erasures.
Even when pulled forth by the beak
of a dove, jaw directed by her own
opposition, turning the cheek is not peace
but a rosary of barbs, a power blast
of stabilimenta. How the absence
of her voice is a wire, how it bracelets
her wrist and torso into trinities, draws
blood from the unclothed, static flesh.
Everything stretches in ordinal
directions: moth wings
like a key to an internal city,
branches that poke into
an anatomical fence,
so bare they snap like roasted bones.
With one hand, she holds herself,
an azimuth, to the light.
With the other, she catches shadows
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The winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition for The Crossing Over (March 2019), Jen Karetnick is the author of eight other poetry collections, including The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, 2020) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. Her work has appeared widely in publications including Cimarron Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, JAMA, Lunch Ticket, Michigan Quarterly Review, The McNeese Review, The Missouri Review, North American Review, Ovenbird, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Salamander, Tampa Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-founder/co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day. Jen received an MFA in poetry from University of California, Irvine, and an MFA in fiction from University of Miami. She works as the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine and as a freelance lifestyle journalist and a trade book author. Her fourth cookbook is Ice Cube Tray Recipes (Skyhorse Publishing, June 2019). Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik, Facebook @Kavetchnik and @JenKaretnick, and Instagram @JenKaretnick, or see jkaretnick.com.