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Saturday, May 04, 2013


by Judy Kronenfeld

                          after the Boston Marathon, and after seeing
                                the documentary, “Syria behind the Lines”

Crystalline cool days—bougainvillea
spills from our walls like rivulets
outdoing one another, like lavish
manes of brilliant, curly scarlet
tossed flirtatiously by the wind—
and in our yard, exploding galaxies
of snow-in-summer; popped up orange liqueur
poppy cups; torches of white iris…

Exploding fire, and the red ochre of blood

spattered over Boylston Street, as if a dark perversion

of Holi came frenzied through—no playful

faces splashed marigold, indigo,

saffron praising spring—leaving behind shreds

of clothes, glass, flesh…

And in Syria, somewhere, again
and again, convulsed young faces
buried in the chests of older men,
whose hands pull the faces in to blot out
what they’re seeing and their screaming,
so the fighting can go on.

Still in Syria somewhere—opulence
of nets of oranges and grapefruits
hanging above the fruit-juice stands piled
with lemons, carrots, melons? Is there hope
for cool sweetness in the throat—intensities
of blended watermelon, strawberry,
banana, milk, honey, mint—families strolling
in the cooling midnight streets, old men
playing chess on 2 A.M. sidewalks…?
On a talk show two broadcasters

argue almost raucously over

whether a newspaper was right

to cut off at the knees a photo

of a man’s legs blasted off below

the knees, in Boston…

And, somewhere, in Syria, again,
and again, a dreamy, peaceful
sweetness sweeps over the bearded face
of a very young man, many times wounded,
many times returned to the rebel lines—
who has already or will join al-Nusra—as he speaks
of his hope to become a martyr.

Here, at home, in California,
where the bougainvillea bursts
in a frenzy of bloom, two friends—a relative,
a poet—dead in the ordinary old way,
of early cancer, of old age.

Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent collections of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of  Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, winner of The Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize for 2007 (Antrim House, 2012). Recent anthology appearances include Before There Is Nowhere to Stand: Palestine/Israel: Poets Respond to the Struggle (Lost Horse Press, 2012) and Love over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems (Mayapple Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals such as Calyx, Cimarron Review, The American Poetry Journal, Fox Chase Review,  Foundling Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Hiram Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, New Verse News, The Pedestal, Poetry International,  Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, and The Women’s Review of Books.