About the Abeyance of Insects; Or Why Judge Judy Keeps Flyswatters on the Bench by Jen Karetnick

About the Abeyance of Insects; Or Why Judge Judy Keeps Flyswatters on the Bench

  • Blame horses.
  • Blame horsetails.
  • Blame horseshit.
  • Blame the spoils of meat and aging produce.
  • Blame landfills.
  • Blame anthrax, cholera, dysentery. Tuberculosis and typhoid. The eggs of parasitic
    worms, draining the system.
  • Blame the system, the ecosystem, the paleo diet of frogs and fish and birds.
  • Blame the business of pollination. Not only bees and butterflies are heroes here.
  • Blame patents. Those who file patents. Those who buy patents like stocks or drugs or
    toilet paper in bulk from Costco.
  • Blame 1900 for turning over its pillow.
  • Blame Kansas crowds, suffering from a Biblical plague at baseball games.
  • Blame derivatives: Swat the ball. Swat the fly.
  • Blame improvements in design: Plastic. Mesh grids. Flexibility.
  • Blame visual spatial perception, sequential cognitive skills. Aim as sharp as a verbal
  • Blame ophthalmology for corrected vision.
  • Blame the right and the left. Hands.
  • Blame the onomatopoeia that takes guts but doesn’t splatter them.
  • Blame the weather, as people do. There is often such small talk for faulting.
  • Blame open doors, windows cracked like eyes just beginning to remember the operations
    of morning.
  • Blame the absence of screens, disappeared as fathers.
  • Blame the lights in the studio, that Hollywood glare that overrides instinct.
  • Blame the remove of a gavel.
  • Blame the lack of a bug zapper, glue board, pneumatic Bug-a-Salt, voracious Venus
    flytrap, a decent set manager.
  • Blame blame.
  • Blame these judgments, always, on the fly.

Jen Karetnick is the author of 10 poetry collections, including The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, September 2020) and Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023). Her work appears recently in Barrow Street, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain, Under a Warm Green Linden, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Co-founder and managing editor of SWWIM Every Day, Jen is currently a Deering Estate Artist-in-Residence. See more at jkaretnick.com.

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