The Fourth River

Tributaries: “Play, with Foreign Object”

By on March 7, 2017

by Jen Karetnick


The octopus found a coconut,
hollow and halved like a locket,

dropped into its world. A chair
waiting for its occupant, the shell

rocked on the ocean floor, inviting
as tea. The octopus lowered its mantle

into the crisp ochre fruit where the meat
once was, and closed the other section

over its head, sliding each of its arms
in from the cracks, leaving not a single

sucker to be caught by edges. And then
it rolled and bounced, propelled by

the predictable tide. And the whole sea
shuddered with this shred of saturated joy.




Jen Karetnick is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016). She has also published four poetry chapbooks and edited two anthologies of South Florida poets and writers. She is currently writing a spoken word play, set in Everglades National Park, with the help of an AIRIE residency, to be debuted in spring 2017 at the amphitheater in Long Pine Key, Florida.