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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 209 words
By Judy Kronenfeld

City Benches in the Sun

The way people sometimes sit 
on benches in cities: as if the April air 
and breeze and sun were not available 
elsewhere, or for long, so they must tilt 
their faces upward, must even close 
their eyes, and not talk or observe 
the scene, just let the breeze 
and warmth flow over them... 

Is it simply a matter of choosing to collect 
one’s self for a while, after visiting 
a sick mother in the hospital, 
or going to the employment agency, 
or the unemployment office, or 
taking the kids to their father’s 
for his week, or several of these 
in one rushed day? 

			     But no, 
even the dowagers of leisure 
in their eight-room apartments feel compelled 
to dress themselves on a glorious spring 
morning, to descend in the elevator, 
to nod and smile as the doorman, 
opening the glass and shiny brass door, 
greets them by name, and to walk over 
to join the stream of humanity—
a small branch of which is sitting now 
on a well-used bench near a tree 
just leafing out in palest green 
on the median of this crowded 
two-way street—their chins lifted, sun 
glowing red-orange on the inside 
of their lids—basking as if on the Riviera. 

Judy Kronenfeld’s
Issue 23 (April 2024)

six full-length books of poetry include Groaning and Singing (FutureCycle, 2022), Bird Flying Through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and If Only There Were Stations of the Air (Sheila-Na-Gig, 2024), all of which are available on Amazon and/or at the publishers’ websites. Her chapbook Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements! will be released by Bamboo Dart Press in June, 2024. Her memoir-in-essays, Apartness, is forthcoming from Inlandia Books in 2024/2025.

Judy’s poems have appeared in four dozen anthologies and in numerous journals including Cider Press Review, Gyroscope Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New Ohio Review, One (Jacar Press), ONE ART, Rattle, Sheila-Na-Gig, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Verdad. 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.

Judy holds a Stanford PhD in English and has criticism published, including King Lear and the Naked Truth (Duke, 1998). She is Lecturer Emerita, Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

Author’s website: http://www.judykronenfeld.com/

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