Jen Karetnick

EXTREME VALUE THEOREM


The tattoo was framed by my wedding dress,
visual announcement of my new self.
I’d intended to hide it, I confess,
but had it placed too high up on the shelf

of my scapula. The rabbi nearly belched
the prayers as if he had lox for breakfast;
my mother attempted to ignore, herself,
the tattoo framed by my wedding dress.

I chose the vellum and pen to impress
the poetic muse to which I was delph.
I thought of it as a backward face,
visual announcement of my new self.

But this was years before girls would help
themselves to hummingbirds and butterflies,
and my ink of declaration was a slap.
I’d intended to hide it, I confess,

but failed. The vows turned private, furious,
and I found out only after he left
that I had no rank in my brother’s grace.
He had it placed too high up on the shelf.
The tattoo was framed.


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