Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130
Issue 107, April – June 2017
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130
followed by Q&A
Based in Miami, Jen Karetnick is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, 2016), which was long-listed for the Julie Suk Award, and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, 2016). Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in TheAtlantic.com, Guernica, Negative Capability, One, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Verse Daily and Waxwing. In 2016, her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and two “Best of the Net”” awards. She works as an educator, dining critic, freelance journalist and cookbook author.
This piece is a golden shovel, using the James Wright poem “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.” The setting is the Little League baseball fields near the house that I grew up in; they had been built in old gravel pits and were surrounded by jagged hills of sliding rocks.
Where have you lived—states, countries, etc.?
I have lived in New Jersey, where I grew up; Boston and Southern California, where I went to undergraduate and graduate school; and Miami, where I’ve been for the last 25 years.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Any toppings?
My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, and you can never go wrong with colored sprinkles.
With whom, living or dead, would like to share dinner and why?
I’d love to share dinner with M.F.K. Fisher and trade some tales about dining and food writing.
after James Wright
I could not sting like a bee or float like a butterfly
though I did learn to throw a punch from my trunk,
not my wrist, after our father taught my sister. A shadow
boxer, a flyweight, I followed her from the split-level house
to the Little League where she was the first girl to play, another
way for the other gender to spend a lengthening spring afternoon.
Formed from former gravel pits, the fields were shielded to the right
by hills of shale and river rocks rising over the stand of pin-boned pines
we generously called “the woods.” We were warned away from here; horses
wouldn’t be able to drag us out were we to fall under an avalanche of these stones.
But no one advised a boy not to toss them as flirtations, which is how one landed on
my lip. Struck dumb, it spurted into a bucket, empty of baseballs, that I brought home.
Even after surgery, I swallowed his name like blood to wear the fist he made me for life.