Juvenescent jellyfish live to infinity in the mega-flooded
garden of the Mediterranean, those raised, sedimented beds first
planted by the Atlantic. It’s almost criminal how invertebrates ripen
for purposes of reproduction, then devolve once that
triumph of sex has been achieved, shrinking down to a size
where near-disappearance is so applauded. If only being a woman
is also this studied of a survival. Born of tide and appetite, how
your eyes assess me, ever-smaller, older. When seas dry, as they do,
promised however they once might have been to jellyfish, they leave a
yield of quartz and silicon. All sunglow. But I temper, smoke into glass.
Jen Karetnick's fourth full-length book is the CIPA EVVY award-winner The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, 2020). Her fifth book, Hunger Until It's Pain, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry (spring 2023). The co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work recently or forthcoming in APR, Another Chicago Magazine, Notre Dame Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. See jkaretnick.com.
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