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Judy Kronenfeld

JudyJudy Kronenfeld is the author of four books of poetry and two chapbooks; her most recent full collections are Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), and Shimmer (WordTech, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, New Ohio Review, One (Jacar Press), Rattle, South Florida Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals, and in two dozen anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Department of Creative Writing, UC Riverside, and an Associate Editor of Poemeleon.

My website is

Once Unruffled

I remember lying in bed with my book
on the Saturday mornings of childhood—
no sound but the faint rasp
of my index finger and thumb
on the page’s corner, and the slight luff
of the turned page, as I passed through
the mirror or the secret door.
I remember looking up in surprise
at the window’s blaze of noon light.

I remember the silence of libraries, of the great public
reading rooms—like snow falling and piling up
indoors, yet not cold—everyone hushed
and separate, the lamp of his mind turned on,
and the silence of my college carrel, where even doodling
in my notebook, or tapping my fingers on the ancient desk
became meditative.

I remember, on a summer porch,
filling many sheets of tissue-thin
paper by hand, in ink, with stories I relived
and pictured my distant friend savoring
as I wrote; I remember the spacious days
framed by waiting
for her reply.

Then someone talks loudly
on a mobile phone in a public square
for the first time, and the fourth walls of houses
crash into the street,
yet the families inside blithely pursue
their strident, no longer private, lives.

And soon, I’m yakking, blathering,
muttering, cackling, too, sending my barbaric yawps
over the roofs, trigger-thumbed, clickbaited,
inexorably linked in— chimes all day
inside my brambly,  burry mind
which branches and branches
and branches though I yearn for it to land.

Now I dream of strolling, free,
through the empty streets of some imagined
hamlet in France or Spain, all the shutters closed
on a hot afternoon, my eyes lifted
for a scrawl of birds in the high sky,
the only sound the church bells pealing the hour,
and it’s so calm, my ear traces
their almost imperceptible
trailing hum, until the air
gathers itself again.

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