IMPERFECT AUTHENTIC CADENCE: MUSIC THEORY FOR THE MARE NOSTRUM
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 TheAtlantic.com, 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.