My Cart 


Judy Kronenfeld


After dropping gutter ball upon gutter ball,
my mother, in her skinny eighties,
who’d never bowled or played a sport
in her long, immigrant life, got up for her last
try, following our visiting son’s sixth or seventh
spare. Desperate for something to do
in our town, he’d told us and his grandparents
bowling would be fun.
So Mom stood at the lane in the Grasshoppers flats
she hadn’t exchanged for bowling shoes,
holding the ball in both hands, fingers
avoiding the holes, then set it down,
with a little nudge.

The ball began to roll with preternatural
slowness; it seemed it might take eternity
for her turn to be done.
It was infinitely slower than the arc
of the moral universe, but surprisingly
steady. Still, we could have placed bets
on inertia or friction while waiting—until
it hit the head pin at the magic angle,
and as we gaped, and mother clapped
her hands together, mesmerized,
one pin after another languidly
lost balance, tripping a brother,
until they all lay felled like a forest
during a volcanic eruption, and the scoreboard
lit up.

What were the odds? One to ten thousand?
It felt like an oppressed
peasant winning the presidency
in some third-world country.
My mother’s smile looked shy,
but secretly victorious as a Valhalla warrior’s.
And Dad and Gramps and Dan and I
whooped and hooted for her joy.

© by Judy Kronenfeld.
Used with the author’s permission.



Judy Kronenfeld is a retired college lecturer of English and Creative Writing who returned to her first love—writing poetry—in mid-life. Originally from the East Coast, Judy now lives with her anthropologist husband in Southern California. Her fifth book of poetry, Groaning and Singing, will be published by FutureCycle Press in early 2022. Learn more about Judy at



Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
I love this poem. The humor with which you tell the story. The slow pace of the poem fits the pace of the ball. The joy at the end is palpable!
Posted 10/09/2021 10:52 AM
Love every tender, triumphant, and generous word! Thanks for the gift of this poem, Judy.
Posted 10/08/2021 01:27 PM
I agree with Rob (and the others) - And I particularly loved that line, and the thought of betting on friction or inertia. Wonderful, suspenseful poem!
Posted 10/06/2021 10:15 PM
I love your description of the slow-motion strike. It's perfect. And "the arc of the moral universe" is great too.
Posted 10/06/2021 09:40 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful moment captured here.
Posted 10/06/2021 09:34 PM
Wow. My eyes were glued to that ball for the long slow roll. Such a joy.
Posted 10/06/2021 01:06 PM
I love this, Judy! Just wonderful.
Posted 10/06/2021 11:30 AM
Love this
Posted 10/06/2021 11:07 AM
Great fun.
Posted 10/06/2021 09:53 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Two things came to mind when I read this. I was the one privileged enough to take my grandfather, a life-long horseman, on his last horseback ride, and I've had moments like this when everything happened just right. In those moments, I just pretend that's how I always do it, to the astonishment of those with me. I can feel the joy and satisfaction Judy is so elegantly expressing.
Posted 10/06/2021 08:55 AM
Besides reading YDP each morning, I also read a blog titled "Sabbath Moments". That ball rolling in its' infinite slowness and my Sabbath Moment this morning , both spoke of "dollops of Grace" I found the synchronicity positively spirit feeding.
Posted 10/06/2021 08:17 AM
Larry Schug:
The third stanza seems like a long Zen koan, completely taking me away from my computer screen and placing me somewhere else.
Posted 10/06/2021 08:16 AM
Stephen Anderson:
I love the way you captured the odds-of-it-all-happening event in this poem and your characterization of one of your mothers finest moments.
Posted 10/06/2021 08:05 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I am a big Judy Kronenfeld fan. I love this photographic, metaphoric, sensuous relatable poem. I can see the skinny eighties nonathletic immigrant mother slowly bowling a strike after several gutter balls. Reminds me of my college days. In my eighties I doubt if I will be able to lift a ball.
Posted 10/06/2021 08:02 AM
Love the story and the way it's told; "It was infinitely slower than the arc/of the moral universe" made me laugh, the whole poem made me smile! Beautiful and well told!
Posted 10/06/2021 06:15 AM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.