Fall 2023, Volume 35

Poetry by Judy Kronenfeld

First Havens

Late autumn night drops down, come 5 o’clock,
abrupt as steel shutters of market shops—
even here in Southern California.

I think of friends in Oslo, where the sun
lingers in bed till 9 a.m. this month
of December, and crashes at 3
in the afternoon. Inger once told me
she loves the season of early dusks best
because electric candles twinkle
in house windows, restaurants grow cozier
with tea lights on tables—“the whole town
just sparkles.” It’s charming—how favored
she feels by geography and culture,
delighted to live where she was born.

Stealthily, the working-class Bronx neighborhood
I was born into sneaks back: the tender, infinitely
inhabited urban twilights, myriad
apartment windows flaring gold
with lamplight, against the moody, fugitive
autumnal blue, as we walked home.

And how I stayed up late, once,
in my best of all possible worlds,
to watch from my own dark bedroom’s
window, as one by one, the glowing yellow
rectangles clicked to black until
the homely buildings across the way—
bristling antennas like rigging—
became shadowy tall ships about to melt
into the velvet sea of night.




BIO: Judy Kronenfeld’s full-length books of poetry include Groaning and Singing (FutureCycle, 2022), Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), and Shimmer (WordTech, 2012). Her poems have appeared in four dozen anthologies and in such journals as Cider Press Review, Gyroscope Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New Ohio Review, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Verdad. Her memoir-in-essays, Apartness, is forthcoming from Inlandia Books in 2024/2025. Her eighth collection, a chapbook of poems, If Only There Were Stations of the Air, will be published by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions in early 2024, and her ninth, another chapbook, Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements!, will be released by Bamboo Dart Press in June, 2024. Judy is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, UC Riverside.