top of page

Steve Kronen: a poem

A Slight Misunderstanding

Certainly, we can clear it up:

who was tupped

in the cloakroom, if directions

to the hospital were clear, if dereliction

of duty is punishable

by law. Was the shibboleth

the poor boy sputtered

misconstrued because of the stutter?

Because of the wind? Our

longueurs over the long winter –

did they make the trees look this way? Dutch elm disease?

The most recent document states "cease"

but nothing about desisting. What was/is the length and width

of Theseus's ship? When the judge says, "fighting with",

does he mean as allies, or against? What if the swelling hasn't subsided

after four hours? After six? What's with the weather? Is it nearsighted-

ness or the weak lamplight

making the plight

of those children seem all the worse?

Why do the trees look like that? Was it bratwurst

as first reported or kielbasa Archduke Ferdinand raved about

before suffering a bout

of indigestion in the Gräf & Stift? Did the distances

across the poet's stanzas

seem to grow longer during his reading, or was it just me? The carrot,

not the cart,

goes before the horse. Did Dean and Jerry come to terms? Branjolina?

Once plucked from the branch

is the fruit ever really savoured? Was it an éclair,

in the hand of Archduke Ferdinand?

Should I have said or instead of and?

Were the directions to the hospital clear?

What is happening with the weather?

Steve Kronen's collections are Homage to Mistress Oppenheimer, Splendor, and Empirical Evidence. He is a librarian in Miami, where he lives with his wife, novelist Ivonne Lamazares.

The poem here is from a new manuscript, Gimme That, Don't Smite Me. He can be reached at

bottom of page