Jen Karetnick





After launch, the waves line up

like chords, predictable as soldiers,

whole notes blasted onto the unarmed


staff—bullets from a full clip—a progression

of archaic sound approved even by

tonically immune gulls who snatch


symphonics from beak to beak like clams.

The current is ictus and takt, the sea foam

a blend of air and spittle released from


the esophageal reeds of the woodwinds

and the fog-sensitive bowels of horns.

But this first movement is deceptive.


Evasive. Irregular. And right before resolution,

I can only confirm fermata, that unknowable

trench, and the chain of coda’s command.


Jen Karetnick is the author of seven poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. The winner of the 2017 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2016 Romeo Lemay Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, Jen has had work nominated for a Pushcart Prize and "Best of the Net" awards, and published or forthcoming in, Crab Creek Review, Crab Orchard Review, Guernica, The Missouri Review, One, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Verse Daily, and Waxwing. She is co-editor-in-chief of SWWIM Every Day.