Asterisms of migrants approach in
bands, they proclaim, stretching out like
constellations that haven’t been
discovered yet, or are considered too
early in the process to be named.

Folks, we have always accosted
grafts of land like this: Whoever
holds it—by force turned into
indelible tradition—gets to
justify what happens to it. Yet after, say,

Kristellnacht, which Jew knew to
leave first? When was the exact
moment that one said: enough,
never again? What collections of
omens or actions solidify into

policy, precisely timed as
quartz wristwatches sewn into hems,
straps of gold for trading out of
terrible situations? Now the
undercarriage rusts, those same Jews

verbose with support for building
walls in regions already inhospitable.
Xenogenies against the new “plague”
yielding the worst results at Seder, they
zip-tie our tongues with ancient arguments.

Jen Karetnick

Jen Karetnick's most recent collection, The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, 2020), is an Eric Hoffer Poetry Category Finalist and a Kops-Fetherling Honorable Mention. Her fifth full-length book is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2023. The co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work appearing recently or forthcoming in The Comstock ReviewMichigan Quarterly ReviewThe Shore, and Under a Warm Green Linden. See

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