When I open the window blinds
above the couch my small dog lies on,
on her side, she lifts her two free legs
as automatically as Pavlov’s dogs
responded to the bell. I turn to leave,
the legs drift down. I come back to water
a plant on the nearby bookcase,
they’re up again. And this time,
though I’m busy, I sit
to stroke her soft, warm belly.
How good it might be, to be a pet dog.
No hunting required. No predators
to flee. No consciousness of my own
death. Just the endless succession
of moments in the present—when I’m not
asleep. The briefest tensions:
when, doing my job, I bark
at strangers passing in the street,
or wait for a tidbit of something
good—Is that, is that, is that
for me? No brooding that my cancer
removed last year could easily recur.
No fear that the side effects
of the ongoing treatment will shock me
Then I remember my decrepit
last dog—demented, incontinent,
in pain—trying vainly to rise after the vet
injected the relaxant just before he put her
down: how she looked at me mutely
with her beseeching eyes while I wept
enough to soak my shirt—and how
that present moment swelled to fill
has five full-length collections of poetry published, including Groaning and Singing (FutureCycle, 2022), Bird Flying Through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths (2nd ed. Antrim House, 2012), winner of the Litchfield Review poetry book prize for 2007. She also has two chapbooks published: Disappeared Down Dark Wells, and Still Falling (The Inevitable Press, 2000) and Ghost Nurseries (Finishing Line, 2005).
Her poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, Connotation Press, Ghost Town, Gyroscope Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New Ohio Review, Offcourse, One (Jacar Press), Rattle, Slant, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verdad, Your Daily Poem, and other journals, and in more than three dozen anthologies. Her stories are published in The Madison Review, The North American Review, Literary Mama, and other magazines, and her creative nonfiction, in Under the Sun; Hippocampus; Inlandia: A Literary Journey; and elsewhere.
Her most recent story, The Paisley Scarf, was published in The Loch Raven Review (Volume 16, No. 1, 2020) and was nominated for a Pushcart.
Her most recent piece of creative nonfiction, Operating in French, appeared in Kaleidoscope (Number 84, Winter/Spring 2022), pages 14-19.
Ms. Kronenfeld is Lecturer Emerita, Department of Creative Writing, UC Riverside, and an Associate Editor of Poemeleon.