Jen Karetnick

Issue 18

2  p o e m s


The Invention of an Individual

Old-fashioned and bitter
in an instant? Resigned to
the holy, crisp career
of fate? Simply pour another

layer into business. One dips
into all sorts of tricks: some
simple, some pretty fancy,
others that require being push-button

content. Before the final step,
many transformations also can
take place which require no
desperate directions whatsoever.


Source: Ray, Marie Beynon. The Five-Minute Dessert: A Cookbook by a Non-Cook for Non-Cooks. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1961.


The Principle of a Liaison

Practically everyone knows
the problem is as old as Apicius—
let the two become separated,
and then what? The arithmetic

postpones senility but it is
a relentless puzzle, backwards
and forwards. In this best of all
implausible worlds, commonplace

refinements are feats that surely rank
with the greatest of Pythagoras, Galileo,
Einstein, of which few people seem to be
aware. Step one: Lure the lady away. Two:

Take care to provoke. Then, after giving
instruction, abandon over a low flame.


Source:  McCully, Helen, Jacques Pépin, and William North Jayme. The Other Half of the Egg, Or 180 Ways to Use Up Extra Yolks or Whites. New York, NY: M. Barrows & Company, 1967.


The winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition for The Crossing Over (March 2019), Jen Karetnick is the author of eight other poetry collections, including The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, 2020). Her work appears widely. She is the co-editor of SWWIM Every Day.

Source photo by Parvesh Kumar