Jen Karetnick: “Under the Weather”



At Wildacres Retreat


Keystone rain clouds tease the mountaintop:
squirrels throwing acorns at leashed dogs. They
pluck the strings of Shumard oaks, unwrapped by
spring, retreat, then reappear to drench the old

growth forest for hours. We hike the trails anyway,
nibbling our way over roots exposed from erosion,
crisp with hooded plastic raincoats, allowing only our
stems contact with the storm. After we return, we

discard our slickened urban exteriors. Unfurling
leaves outside the cabins try to hold the water
like cups under leaks from a failing roof, like
napkins netting a spill too big to contain.



Jen Karetnick is the author of numerous poetry collections, including the forthcoming Inheritance with a High Error Rate (January, 2024), winner of the 2022 Cider Press Review Book Award, and the chapbook What Forges Us Steel: The Judge Judy Poems (Alternating Current Press, June 2024). Her work has won the Tiferet Writing Contest for Poetry, Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition, Hart Crane Memorial Prize, and Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, among other honors, and received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Wildacres Retreat, Mother’s Milk Artist Residency, Artists in Residence in the Everglades, and elsewhere. The co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has recent or forthcoming work in American Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, Missouri Review Poem of the Day, Notre Dame Review, Shenandoah, South Dakota Review, and Tar River Poetry.

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