Poetry » Judy Kronenfeld »



Pale gibbous rock,
craters and mountains almost
showing, blooming
into the blue wash of early evening,
as I leave the grocery, looking up.
And the black birds
flowing underneath,
scrolling and unscrolling—

“What are you gazing at?,”
someone on her way in asks,
expectation in her voice,
as if a planetary phenomenon
might be occurring.

“Just the Moon,” I say.
Our piece of stone, low
in the wide brush of sky,
claimable, familiar.
Strange. For a moment not
the Moon, silver disc
hammered to an adornment’s
thinness, but simply a moon
in its 3-D rockiness—
as if I were looking out
at a barren body, spun
off a spiraling exo-planet
over some primordial horizon.

Yet, how soon, unhesitating,
evening sinks down,
with slow, accustomed graciousness,
as I drive home. It’s almost dark
as I carry my bread, cheese
and apples tenderly from the car.
The mica-flake moon fixed
above my chimney begins its glittering.

What an unearned sense
of completion as I unlock my door—
as if I’d been out for hours
in the perturbations of the air,
as if I’d help steer the blazing sun
to its hiding place in the sea.


To skim, smooth-keeled,
ribs protecting my heart’s cargo,
muscles sliding like oars or wings,
across oncoming gullies
and billows, with updrafts
and downdrafts, my sense
of self, unanatomized,

my blitheness immaculate
as a child’s skin,

and within, my body’s secrets unheeded
as breathing—

though the bones in their plush of flesh
are like pumice, or sponges,
the skeleton holding up
the body’s tent collapsible
as pick-up sticks,
the sack of blood I am,
quivers like a cut of liver,

though blood seeks everyday
to state its case—
even the glancingest of touches
bringing its assertions
to the surface—
though the inside will out,
the viny tendons in the hands,
the sharper skull in the face—

Right now, in the azure air,
to hang-glide
from myself.

Chronic This and That

Body that drags at me
like an enormous ridiculous
parade balloon that won’t
wide-eyed, useless—needing
all these handlers
to wrangle it, bouncing
and wobbling, stubbing
its stumpy toes, careening
into barriers, blocking out
huge swaths
of the horizon:

cut your strings,
lighten, rise, so I may
be (oh bodily comfort)
of body—not a boulder damming
the flowing stream,
not a burr catching up
the mind, not a seed
in the teeth.


I know I’m going to look down
at my thumb tomorrow morning
and see a wen sprung up
like a mushroom overnight, the first step
of a goose-stepping cancer—
Or at least that’s how I’m thinking
driving home from visiting my coeval friend
whose body’s a glumping puddle, a slumping
pudding, who, as we leave
for the restaurant, squashes
an ancient discolored cap over her white-stubbled head—
(she cannot care, that scares me so) around which
the black crows circle, cawing,
and who’s so goddamned un-self-pitying.

I pity, I admire, growing fiercer
for music music music—not
to be stuck in the musty corner
at the living dance, drooping
wall-weed in ill-fitting frumpy skin.
I want to throw shots back
into my open mouth—let my delicate
stomach rebel—and throw up
all the virtues—acceptance,
patience, dignity in decline.

I’m not going to stock pretty leak-control panties,
or plan ahead for babbling on the heath,
though I can see my own crows
coming to roost—the crow of bone
crumble, the crow of dental
devastation, the crow of deranged feet.
But the black ox has not yet trod
definitively on my toe and so—my luxury—
I hate the crows that get
in my face, and try
to fend them off: this one,
feathers mangy with parasites,
who waddles near my right eye,
wearing a groove; this one, twig-tool
held in his beak, who works his signature
trefoil by my left.
I shimmer my eyelids, wave
my hands, though their cousins
flock to my lips, as if digging the furrows
above and below will yield seeds,
though they land on my fingers,
my arms, though I’m on the train
to nightmare, I’m on the train
to scare, I don my flowy clothes
and shining like shook foil
dance in my glitter and glow.