Jen Karetnick

X-Ray, Three Views, for an Impression of Osteoporosis

All metal removed from my body, I spend the
day in machines, determining what remains. Here is
my neck "at severe risk of fracture" like a teenager's

heart. "Fluid between bilateral hip joints"
is my pelvis. And oh, my lumbar spine, "with
a wedging deformity that could be chronic." Pain is a

snake, coiling and striking at threats, real or imagined,
molting from the inside to discard bones instead of
skin. Why do they call it a density screen when

it is really a scan for scarcity? Such a dearth of mineral
is "the lowest T-score based on the W.H.O. criteria" and
not the expected outcome for my age. Still, I'm not

ready to break even if my skeleton doesn't know how
to keep itself from compressing into splinters, wants to
shed this short growth I've strived all my life to achieve.

Jesus Christ Has Entered the Waiting Room on

Zoom, the rabbi remarked at the bar mitzvah
yesterday, and kept him in the desert of tech
xenism for several minutes as if to
wander like Moses, appealing to his host, before
verifying his entry. Of course, we all
understood that he was not really
that JC, with his fondness for foot baths, but
simply an adolescent locked down with
restrictions for too long, exercising his best
quip to a captive audience, though one hardly
pious, video screens gone dark, microphones
on silent, and even the brothers of the bar mitzvah
not interested, fiddling with yarmulkes and
masks behind him, exchanging one for the other.

Let us all consider, though, how apt a metaphor,
knowing what kind of year this has been, that
jigsawing somewhere out of tangible reach
is some brand of savior, irrespective of faith, and
how it is that we gather anyway for these celebrations,
going on in fits and starts, stuttering like tongues,
freezing as if to cold metal in winter, ready to
empty virtual wineglasses regardless, have them
define us. As always, we will not be
cowed. We will be Cohens watching our children
become adults, and we will say to this apocalypse,
another is another is another, Adonai, amen.


Jen Karetnick's fourth full-length book is The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020). She is also the author of Hunger Until It's Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023); The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize; and the chapbook The Crossing Over (March 2019), winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition, in addition to six other collections. Karetnick has won the 2020 Tiferet Writing Contest for Poetry, the Hart Crane Memorial Prize, and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, among others, and has been an Artist in Residence in the Everglades, a Deering Estate Artist in Residence, and a Maryland Purple Line Transit grant recipient. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, she has work appearing recently in Barrow Street, The Comstock Review, december, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. Based in Miami, Jen works as a lifestyle journalist and is also the author of four cookbooks, four guidebooks, and more.


Hilary Biehl
Judith Grey
Mureall Hebert
Jen Karetnick
E. R. Lutken
Marjorie Maddox
Diane Lee Moomey
Samantha Pious
Barbara Sabol
Wendy Sloan
Myrna Stone
J. C. Todd
Paulette Turco
Elaine Wilburt
Joyce Wilson


This issue of Mezzo Cammin is also dedicated to its Founder and Managing Editor for 15 years, Dr. Kim Bridgford (1959-2020). [Photo: Marion Ettinger].

The 2021 Poetry by the Sea conference was canceled due to COVID-19. The next conference is planned for May 24-27 2022.

Nicole Michaud: Throughout history, both women and fruit have been popular and enduring subjects for paintings. Women are referred to as the earth in which man plants a formed seed, distancing women from their capacity as creator. Rather, women engaging in procreation utilize the male 'pollen' to create and grow the embryonic seed of future generations.

From the Nariphon of Buddhist mythology (literal fruits shaped as women's bodies and absent bones) growing from the Makkaliphon tree, to the pomegranate of Greek mythology and the apple (or fig) of Judeo-Christian writings, women and fruit have been inextricably linked for millennia. Fruit is the basis of the temptation and fall from grace of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and serves as a treacherous precursor to conflict in mythologies such as the Greek golden apple's role in beginning the Trojan War. Women's bodies and body parts are often compared to apples, pears, melons, lemons, and other fruit. This association and dehumanization of women has facilitated an enduring mistreatment, ownership, and underestimation of capacity.

Inside, transformations are happening.

32 Poems
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Favorite Poem Project
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Raintown Review
String Poet
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Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
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