“Custody,” by Jen Karetnick

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Poetry by Jen Karetnick from our Fall 2017 issue.


These babies born between countries
in the hazardous milk of sea,
piss and gasoline that sours
like the soggiest of diapers
hold displacement, passports of glass,

sanded by the tides and treaties
that deliver with the incise
of midwives. Are they theirs, yours, ours,
these babies born between countries?

Or do they belong to bilges
and broken pumps, shrouded to the eyes
with progressive waves that scour,
tumbling the surface, turning hours
identical, each as homeless as
these babies born between countries?


Image: Danby, Francis. “Sunset at Sea after a Storm.” 1824. Oil on canvas. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, U.K.

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