gleams in a movie,
its lights gems on the plush display
cloth of night, its bridges bracelets.
Yet the shabbiness of a glimpsed
street corner is what gets through,
and mine reaches out from memory to me—
a speaker of its native language—
with this begrimed cornice,
this lintel, this rain- and sun-mottled awning
over the drugstore window,
this black ash on the sill.
As if,
were I to rush there, I could hold
in my hands their distilled atmosphere—
the way someone holds, in the cup
of her ear, a taped voice
achingly familiar. As if
every place we’ve ever called home
does not flow away from us
on an unlooped conveyer—
like the waters of an infinity pool
vanishing over the zero edge.
As if I wanted to reach down
on my chest for the key there
six decades past, to unlock the square skates,
tighten them against my sneakers, lean in
and rumble over the cracked sidewalks flashing mica
from the drugstore to the park,
and glide on its paths and stop
at another corner,
newsstand, candy store, barber shop—
utterly, beautifully, unremarkable.

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JUDY KRONENFELD was born in New York City, the only child of European immigrants of modest education and means, and educated at Smith College (on scholarship) and Stanford University, where she received a Ph.D. in English (with the help of her anthropology student husband’s fellowship for their first hard-up year, and afterwards, of a teaching assistant’s stipend). She has taught English literature at the University of California, Irvine, the University of California, Riverside, and Purdue University. After her midlife turn back to her childhood love of writing poetry, she began to teach in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, where she is now Lecturer Emerita, having retired after 25 years. While teaching creative writing , writing her own poems, and publishing her first book of poems (Shadow of Wings [Bellflower Press, 1991]), Judy also made her personal psychological peace with giving up her scholarly research on literature by writing a deeply researched, comprehensive, controversial, and muckraking book focused on King Lear, which addresses the problems of oversimplified “new historicist” criticism. King Lear and the Naked Truth: Rethinking the Language of Religion and Resistance was published by Duke University Press in 1998 and earned her the Non-Senate Distinguished Researcher Award at UC-Riverside for 1996-97. Since 2000, she has published two chapbooks and three more books of poetry, been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, and been co-winner of the first annual poetry contest sponsored by the dA Center for the Arts, in Pomona. Her most recent chapbook is Ghost Nurseries (Finishing Line, 2005); the books are Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Award, Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared widely, in American Poetry Journal, Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Poetry International, Sequestrum, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Women’s Review of Books and other journals, and in twenty anthologies. Judy serves as Associate Editor of Poemeleon. She also writes creative nonfiction, which has appeared recently in Under the Sun and Hippocampus, among other places, and the more occasional short story (Literary Mama, Madison Review, North American Review and others). She and her husband have lived mainly in Riverside since 1969; they are the parents of two very international, far-flung children, and have four grandkids.

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