Jen Karetnick

Incantation for Akimbo
by Jen Karetnick

For awry

For aslope

For askew

For shaped into a crook

For throwing an awkward elbow

For the handles of jugs

and impertinent teapots

For sharp-pointed

For bow-bent

For the etymology of battle

(in common use)

From Old Norse to Middle English

as applied to spear, spike,

dagger, goad, hook, anchor,

axe, knife, sword—

Let us assign such a context

to the weed of a kitten

seeded in a car engine

After the flowering of pistons

and spark plugs

After the pluck of crankshaft

Not a wound

but a weapon

Not an amputation

but an argument

A stiffened extension

of spine canted at an angle

also meaning bold


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 4.

Jen KaretnickJen Karetnick is the author of seven poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016).She is co-editor of SWWIM Every Day. Find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik. More at


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