Jen Karetnick: An Abecedarian of American Sentences as a Summary of Intrinsic Motivation

I. Anxiety

All day my heart is a snake, molting skin it is not ready to shed.

II. Backyard Sanctuary

Bees abandon the weeping bottlebrush tree, dive-bomb the pool at dusk.

III. Call and Response

Courting peacocks strum feathers, rattling themselves into resonance.

IV. Desquamate

Departing its summer surface, my back zests itself like a lemon.

V. Escape

Elephantine with the twin tusks of guilt and relief, I walk the dogs.

VI. Familiarity

Forgetting my mask because it has become like my keys, I check the fridge.

VII. Grief

Getting on my red soles, I catwalk the runway of this apocalypse.

VIII. Happiness

How the Thai noodles tingle on my tongue, left on my doorstep still hot.

IX. Insomnia

Interrogating the floor, my feet blister faulty jurisdictions.

X. June

Juvenescent garden, planted for triumph, where is your promised yield?

XI. Kitchen

Knives dulling like minds, bread throwing off its crust—this is a rebellion.

XII. Lizard

Lodged like a branch in the dying orange lawn: that fucking iguana.

XIII. Menopause

My epidermis prickles, poked with heated, invisible toothpicks.

XIV. November

Note how stone crab claws are delivered now to our own private hammers.

XV. Owl

Over our heads, the outflow of disturbed air is almost visual.

XVI. Pilates

Pencil of my spine, write my muscles into bold, capital letters.

XVII. Quirks of the Season

Quixotic hurricanes are Greek theater, curtaining two alphabets.

XVIII. Roots

Repel the larvae of army moths, whose mouths suck this new sod like suns.

XIX. Scar

Sewn by hand, a curtain I long to close, my crooked face hangs on screen.

XX. Tremor

These finger flinches, these jellied knuckles, these wincing palms, such shy alms.

XXI. Unnatural

Unmasked and helmetless riders roar by on motorbikes, percussive.

XXII. Verisimilitude

Vivid odes erupt from the sky as planes runway, circle, land again.

XXIII. Weathering

When thunder voices disappointment, then leaves, a cloud-father follows.

XXIV. X Factor

Xenial custom for future pandemics: Bring your own forks and knives.

XXV. Yield

You rise from your dense mud-slumber, come back to life without asking why.

XXVI. Zeitgeist

Zombie-minded, we are the past-knowing, post-dreaming generation.

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