Aubade After Tropical Storm
An abecedarian with words from Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Azul has nothing on you, brightening bowl of sky, blood sisterhood of berries cut with the clotted cream of clouds. I could take a spoon to your dense layers, your brisk morning mouth, and every taste bud would sprout the ability to fly, a tsunami of umami growing one great wing. These are the risings that I hanker for, when you break into pointillism, individual dabs diffracting from that wide eye juddering up from its bed. Almost too many to see. I’d kneel in prayer if I prayed. I’d fall in love if I had love left to give. Emily wrote that the brain is wider than you, meditating on our own vast powers that twine and nestle like kittens inside boxes made from bone. Obdurate, I don’t believe that the faculties of people are fair rivals to the elements, more quixotic than wind or wave or the Milky Way, rife with the artifacts of original light. Poets, how smug we must be to think that we can challenge these energies: 82.19 inches of rain, 24 more than usual, have fallen this year, an extra two feet of visible force. What does this tell us except that your weather will always be superior to our imaginations, you Xanadu for perpetual surprises, you pleasure-dome, holy and enchanted, you cavern measureless to man, zeitgeist of this moment that is all too soon to change?
JEN KARETNICK is the author of ten poetry collections, including The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020) and Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023). Karetnick has won the Tiferet Writing Contest for Poetry, the Hart Crane Memorial Prize, and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, among others, and has been an Artist in Residence in the Everglades, a Deering Estate Artist in Residence, and a Maryland Purple Line Transit grant recipient. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work appearing recently in Barrow Street, The Comstock Review, december, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Based in Miami, Jen works as a lifestyle journalist, is co-author of the newsletter Dishtillery, and is the author of four cookbooks, four guidebooks, and more. Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik and Instagram @JenKaretnick, or see jkaretnick.com.