Jen Karetnick: "Reflection at Umatilla"


A second-story wind
heckled the pines
like an older brother,

rattling the intricate necklaces
of Spanish moss, the pinecone
pendants. Under a strobe
of shade and sun, fickle
needles, a green lynx spider,
predator of earworm moths

and honey bees, shivered
between tree and table,
repairing the veins of its web,

trembling like a hand. Dust
flew over the lake as if born
to velocity. Sandhill cranes,

masked with vermilion,
hooted encouragement.
Only that which lay low
to the ground remained
indifferent: branches discarded
like weathered relationships, fire

ant hills where the drones
protect their queens
with pre-programmed devotion.


Jen Karetnick is the author of three poetry chapbooks and author/editor of six other books (two forthcoming, an anthology and a cookbook). Her work has been published in Barrow Street, Carpe Articulum, Cimarron Review, Georgetown Review, North American Review, River Styx, and many other journals. She works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School. She is also a freelance food-travel writer and critic.