Stillbirth
by JEN KARETNICK
--for Noam, and Adam


Outside he could only imagine his worth.
Never before did he have to be still,
gathered, sunken, for the weight of work,
the allowance of sound, and light’s strange pull.

Never before did he have to be still,
the spacious brine permitting leaps and dives,
allowing rough sound and light’s strange pull
to be kept, always, at a wall’s remove.

The spacious brine permitting leaps and dives—
when did that all seep so quickly away?
Having been kept, always, at a remove,
her pulse was a river he felt to see.

How did it all seep so quickly away?
He was ready, they said, for the weight of work.
But his pulse was a river that failed to be.
Outside, we can only conceive his worth.









JEN KARETNICK has published two chapbooks of poetry, Bud Break from Mango House and Necessary Salt, and is currently writing a cookbook, Romancing the Mango: Recipes for the Obsessed, for University Press of Florida. Her poems have been published in River Styx, North American Review, Cimarron Review and Carpe Articulum, among others.