Note: These poems related to parenthood all appeared in my first book of poetry, Shadow of Wings (1991). “A Parent” touches on the vulnerability of the child and the vulnerability of the protecting parent who so loves and is responsible for that child; “Lizard Hill” momentarily reverses responsible parent and protected child; and “2 A.M. and All’s Well” is best read without preamble. Most of the time my husband and I had small children at home, and afterwards, I taught: English Renaissance literature and other subjects at UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Purdue University, and Creative Writing for twenty-five years at UC Riverside, retiring in 2009. In addition to poetry, I write the very occasional short story, and, more frequently, creative non-fiction; my latest essay, “Looking Back—Why I Stopped Writing and How I Started Again: Poetry and the Authentic, Contingent Self” will appear in Under the Sun, Summer, 2018.
Running from the terrors of the unnamed dark
my child, raising the alarm, Nightmare!
climbs into my bed, as I once climbed
into my parents', nosing into
the burrow warmth of their bodies, of their
breaths and armpits, rank and sweet in sleep.
His memory is so fine for the details
summoned by my cajoling words. The beast
that sat on him moves its great limbs and
lumbers off. But in the inner spaces
of those names, so drowsy, resolute, and
arbitrary, I hear its shallow breath.
The doors, the hall, resume their usual shapes,
the moon from his room's window's just a moon.
When pulled back into sleep, I dream his dream.
First published in Blue Unicorn 7, No. 3 (June, 1983)
2 A.M. and All’s Well
it was like God’s belly laugh.
The dog would not move
from the bed
and even the cat
came to the door
with a just-happened-
and Mara hugged and hugged,
and we laughed, we laughed
at all the children and animals
everywhere climbing into beds,
Alice’s futon littered
with scared Pekinese’ fur,
Dr. Feuerbach’s couch cracking
under the weight of his St. Bernard,
Mrs. Callahan’s bed flooded
with her nine children,
we laughed and laughed.
First published in The Crescent Review 5, No. 1 (1987)
My child and I walked to the top
of Lizard Hill,
or rather, she walked,
holding her hand out to me,
and I slid backwards,
in my skidding sneakers.
And I was happy!
to be walking with her
to the top of Lizard Hill
where we sat, back to back
on a graffit'd rock,
in that place where dry grasses
spoke their motherly language
ssh—and a fat rabbit
darted out of the brush
because I was happy!
Sorrow has a thousand explanations.
I have nothing more to say
First published in Judy Kronenfeld, Shadow of Wings (Chagrin Falls, Ohio: Bellflower Press), 1991
© 2018 Judy Kronenfeld
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