The RKO Palace - Judy DeCroce

Leaving her world outside,
the afternoon, the familiar,
this little girl steps into a palace,

a palace of lavish gilt, soaring balconies,
and eyes of murals taking her measure.

Holding tight to paper dolls
of idols never to meet.

Down into fields of plush seats,
along highways of aisles,

a monumental curtain heavy with opulence
and behind it,
those special people,

gods, stepping into their glamour,
ready to show that story
they’ve been holding
                        just for her.

And in the darkness
after all that war, rain of bombs, and hiding,
hands clutching dirty hands. tears for the dying,

faces pressed to windows,
hope for tomorrow,
she lived it from her seat

terrified, then somehow saved
finding the way back to
her real life

leaving her afternoon stained
with what she didn’t live through
̶  but did.


Judy DeCroce is an American poet/flash fiction writer, educator, and avid reader who began writing flash fiction and poetry in 2006  ̶  many of which have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, The Poet, and The BeZine. Her works have been featured in US, UK, and India.

Her impetus for telling stories was borne out of a childhood affliction where she was bedridden for five years with a then unidentified illness. Because of this, she honed her imagination to build stories of what could be.

Among other talents over the last thirty-five years, she includes professional storytelling along with instruction of that genre, working with students ranging in age as young as kindergarten to adult. She also offers workshops in flash fiction.

Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband, poet/artist Antoni Ooto.