We Pretend Britney Spears Is a Hurricane

Repel a tide of staccato questions. It doesn’t matter if you answer, or how.
The countermeasure legato of your southern drawl. Left with uncontainable
larvae of once-facts, the draw is the razor that gnaws at the time signature
of you until you become half and half again, until the truth becomes an untidy

army of lies that marches back to shore as a storm surge, winging to land like
moths to wool, their collective wind wrapping around the eye of a cyclone
whose trajectory is uncertain but has the strength of so many hungry
mouths. A flood that comes in with gospel, ringing with vibrato like blood to skin.

Suck the scarlet from your wounds like poison, as if the wounds themselves are
this complicit trap. The salt that is your labor won’t seal them. This isn’t a compelling
new lyric but it has infiltrated your foundation anyway, keeping your freshly delivered
sod from taking as a lawn. Pain is not performance art but we’ll hit you, baby, one more time,

like you asked, show you how we want it to be, we’ll give you a sign: No rising
suns on the horizon. Only cloud cover, whipped to a frenzy at the conductor’s request.

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 jkaretnick.com.

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