Judy Kronenfeld has taught in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside since 1984. Her poems and the occasional short story and personal essay have appeared in numerous print and online journals including Spoon River Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, Cimarron Review, Poetry International, Hiram Poetry Review, The Pedestal, Literary Mama, and Under the Sun, as well as in a number of anthologies. Her second full-length collection of poetry, Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, won the Litchfield Review Book Award in Poetry for 2007, and was published in Summer, 2008 by The Litchfield Review Press.
Names of My Mother's Friends
They touched knees on stoops, girlishly
coquettish, hung laundry together
on wind-scoured roofs, smiled at me
fit to burst, her naches theirs, yahooed hello
as I dragged home from school, pinched
my cheeks red because they loved her,
removed slipcovers at the end
of summer, lovingly preserved grandmothers'
antimacassars, leaned on the sills
They rumbled their shopping carts
over cracked sidewalks, met in the
vegetable store by the dank potatoes,
cluck-clucked over this one's
sunken-cheeked husband, that one's
sneaky son, while the chickens
they chose were plucked;
widowed, cancerous, forgot which was
the meat fork, which the dairy,
lost teeth and didn't care, moved
out of and into a home,
names have been sent down to the dark,
withdrawn from circulation, with hers
they have gone out like lights,
but they are still fragrant
as lace handkerchiefs taken
from a sachet-scented drawer--
Oh Stella, Dora, Ida, Gertie, Pearl, oh Rose.
Originally published in POETRY INTERNATIONAL, reprinted in the chapbook DISAPPEARED DOWN DARK WELLS AND STILL FALLING (The Inevitable Press, 2000), and subsequently in the full-length collection LIGHT LOWERING IN DIMINISHED SEVENTHS (The Litchfield Review Press, 2008).