Jen Karetnick

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,, 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