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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 229 words
By Judy Kronenfeld


—After a photograph by Vivian Maier (1954)*
This young kid doesn’t frown or scowl 
at the photographer snap-shooting 
on the street, unlike some of her candid 
subjects, brows thickly furrowed 
as they think, Get your mug 
out of my face. Or, I’d shoot you—
and not with a camera—if I could. 

His full lips open a little with expectation, 
his very slightly narrowed eyes are slated 
to be what we called “bedroom eyes” 
in seventh grade. Maybe he’s a tiny bit 
curious—Oh, I’m in your sights—but 
he’s not objecting. His arms crossed over 
each other say, I’m o.k. with me. 

Pure boyness, carrying not one but two 
baseball mitts (to assure the game goes on?) 
and a propeller (attached to a model plane?), 
he’s totally adapted to his moment, 
to this urban ecological niche—
has a highish quiff, like young Elvis 
or James Dean, stiffened 
with liberal use of Brylcreem. 

He’s taken care to roll up the sleeves 
of his tee to show off the promising 
biceps of his thin arm—like the rockers 
and greasers not in the “special classes” 
for nerds like me at my junior high. 

My mother approved the dweebs 
with crew cuts and half-sleeves unrolled up. 
I feared, but wanted the boys like this one—
Master of Third Avenue, near 62nd Street, 
spit-cleaned of the grease accrued in Shop. 



* The photograph referenced above by American photographer Vivian Maier (1926-2009) appears as Slide Number 22 in her Street 2 portfolio at the Maloof Collection online: http://www.vivianmaier.com/

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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