One Poem by Jen Karetnick

(To) Life
        	 A beautiful outlaw sonnet for Congregation Beth Israel
and its exigencies. Funny how quickly they
zoom away, the background of an overcast day,
when faced with injustice, bigotry, the discrete death
that’s out of sync with the media’s superior fresh
take of the week. A quartet of Jews held hostage
at Shabbat by the usual zealot doesn’t even warrant a spot
on the news or front page. Extraneous people,
we only count when we plummet as apples
to lay split open on the ground, seeds like avant-garde jewels
to steal. In this not-quite tragedy, no one rushes the shul.
While the world rationalizes, the rabbi logjams
the gunman, throws a chair, and exits like Abraham,
cognizant of his hack ninja-training qualifications. Following, no probing analysis.
No axioms. And naturally, no Instagram accounts with hashtags going viral, abuzz.

Jen Karetnick‘s fourth full-length book is The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020), a CIPA EVVY winner, an Eric Hoffer Poetry Category Finalist, and a Kops Fetherling Honorable Mention. She is also the author of Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023). Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has had work recently or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Cutthroat, DIAGRAM, Jet Fuel Review, Notre Dame Review, The Penn Review,, and elsewhere.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.


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