Miriam N. Kotzin


Over his body, her horizon,
she watched the dawn alone.
And when a brief cascade of notes
left the room awash in sound,
he silenced Schubert with a touch.
He pulled the blanket up to shield
his face from light.
His body lay as in a winding sheet.
She knew one day she'd look into his face,
his eyes wide and blind, unwrap him
dead to the world.


Even before the fog lifted
crows stalked the lawn, imperious,
coughing at morning.
Now afternoon light falls
golden through the trees;
shadows stretch across the lawn.
The wind comes up from the sea.
The woods quiver with wind
and light at summer's end.
Terns blown inland, wheel and scree.
Mourning doves, wings whirring, fly off.
Deep in the woods an owl's question
brackets the day.
I have been too long away
from the sound of your voice.



Nothing tacky of course,
no clamshell jewelry, sand candles,
wooden gulls or coffee mugs.

But this brush holder
used by Chinese scholars
is finely carved with figures, flowers
and a poem (I am told)
neither of us could read.
Unaccountably I remember wisteria
still heavy with early morning rain.
You would place this empty ivory
in your unused sunken parlor
hung with blue brocade.
I'd rather you kept it in the clutter
of your room, stuffed with pens.

Or perhaps
you might like
this white jade
cool smooth fruit
would grow warm
in your hands.


When winter is only a habit of mind
a tree is like a woman at dusk
who has been waiting
all day for her lover
whose arrival is certain.

Or perhaps the woman,
pregnant with desire,
is like a tree, rooted,
whose each graceful motion
in the wind
is incidental.

Like a woman, rooted,
like a tree, slowly
when winter
is only a habit
of mind.

Miriam N. Kotzin teaches literature and creative writing  in the Department of English and Philosophy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA where she is the advisor to Maya, the student literary magazine. She has been appointed Director of a program leading to a Certificate in Writing and Publishing, which is now going through the approval process of the university committees. Kotzin's poetry has been published in a number of print magazines, among them: Iron Horse Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly,  Boulevard (for which she is a contributing editor), Mid-American Review, Southern Humanities Review, Pulpsmith, and Confrontation. Online her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Drexel Online Journal, the Vocabula Review, Three Candles and ForPoetry.com., Blaze and Small Spiral Notebook. Her short fiction has appeared in ELF:  Eclectic Literary Forum (print), and will appear in the online launch of Xaxx.


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