Judy Kronenfeld – Three Poems



What if, in my papery skin,
I am disappeared into one
of so many duplicate, remote
and solitary rooms—
quiet as the cells of abandoned
wasps’ nests, or beehives?

What if I roll
to the floor in my sleep,
and there is only the squeeze
of the blood-pressure cuff, the cold coin
of the stethoscope on my chest?

What if, when my busy children
clear an hour to visit, they hug
their brittle progenitor
at a distance, like palms
arcing over in a wind?

What if I sit
with their gift of a robo-kitty
in my lap, and stroke
and stroke its back,
and coo in answer
to the answering mewing
and VibraPurring, and stroke
until the kitty rolls over
for a belly-rub—the warmth
of my own undiminished affections
flooding me—
and stroke until it
closes its glassy eyes and snoozes,
as I do?


Blurted Psalm,
Night before Surgery

Dear no-one: drape me,
reinless, over the backs
of these packhorse words
fear no…with me…
Let me be carried away.

Make me small enough
to crawl inside the caves
of these sounds and sleep.

My helpless tongue’s
the flailing clapper
of my body’s rocking
bell: Lull it.
Unhollow my heart.


Not Getting the Mail

Outside my window on the porch,
afternoon light blinks against
the stained brass of the mailbox lid,
like a spider’s web pressed
and released by the wind.
It is quiet on one frond
of the fern, which looks like something
singled out, something bespoke.

Nearby, in the patio,
a humming-bird flits
from golden bougainvillea leaf
to golden leaf, and the light
awakes again on the dulled brass.

I gaze in a stillness
that feels deep
as the one in which the letters
nestle in the dark,
in which they rest.

But I never stay.
My body busies
the calm porch,
lifts the lid, now,
all’s dispersed.


Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent books of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her fourth full collection, Bird Flying through the Banquet, will be published by FutureCycle Press in the spring of 2017. Her poems have appeared widely in print and online journals including American Poetry Journal, Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, Connotation Press, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Portland Review, Sequestrum, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, and Valparaiso Review, and in more than twenty anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Dept. of Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside, and an Associate Editor of the online journal, Poemeleon.