by Jen Karetnick
I. To a Baboon Lemon Tree
Once, I held your fruit, two bright bells fused tight.
Once, I tasted the curried tang of juice.
Once, I saw you bloom, the fragrance fast and loose.
Once I filled you with drink each young night.
Skeletal companion, how you must long
for the ferment of home soil, not this
limestone dust in which you are prop and prong.
II. From a Medical Anorexic
Twice, I brought strangers here from near distance.
Twice, I celebrated with rituals:
Twice, after emergence, I bathed in wells.
Twice, my body denied them sustenance,
some parts of me still too withered to share.
Every month now I see possibility,
but slim, slimmer becomes the chance to bear.
The winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition for The Crossing Over (May 2019), Jen Karetnick is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. She is also the author of four other poetry chapbooks, including Bud Break at Mango House, winner of the 2008 Portlandia Prize. Her work appears recently in Cigar City Poetry Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Hamilton Stone Review, JAMA, Lunch Ticket, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review (online), and Salamander. She is co-founder/co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day. Jen received an MFA in poetry from University of California, Irvine, and an MFA in fiction from University of Miami. She works as the dining critic forMIAMI Magazine and as a freelance lifestyle journalist and trade book author. Her fourth cookbook is forthcoming May 2019. Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik, Facebook @Kavetchnik and @JenKaretnick, and Instagram @JenKaretnick, or see jkaretnick.com.