Miriam N. Kotzin




We watch leaves soar, caught up by wind, and then

the fickle wind just carries them away.

What once wind held, holds still. We breathe again.


Rain beat on panes and dripped from eaves all day,

a constant thrum beneath our meager words.

The fickle wind just carries them away


until we call them back, and then like birds

they flutter up and circle, now our blood

a constant thrum beneath our meager words.


The storm will end. We’ll watch the torn clouds scud.

Though body’s text conceals its thought-moths’ twitch,

they flutter up and circle now. Our blood,


arrhythmic pulse, will slow. Then we will stitch

our stuttering touch to speech: fingers spell, 

though body’s text conceals its thought-moths’ twitch.


Let these well-weathered things surprise, impel

our stuttering touch to speech, fingers’ spell. 

We watched leaves soar, caught up by wind, and then

what once wind held, holds.  “Still,” we breathe, “again.”






The Garden


                        Bruises blossom:  my flesh flowers with these

                                    pansies, and you take note,

                        marking, studying each bruise like a good

                                    gardener checking buds

                        daily, searching my flesh, turning my

                                    flesh in your fingers, then

                        pressing fresh blossoms.  My flesh flowers

                                    when I lie in your arms like this.










                        At noon the surface of the lake

                        was slick with glare. We chose to lunch

                        at lakeside anyway.  The look

                        was cheerful, seemed the place to launch

                        a plan for better times.  “ Good luck,


                        good luck,”  I heard the lines all ring

                        in rounds against their  masts, a song

                        whose words were strange to me. They rang

                        a different tune for him.  They sang

                        “restrained” and “moored.”  I had been wrong


                        to think that stopping here would be

                        ideal.  The bright umbrellas flap

                        in mid-day breeze.  I want to say

                        too much.  Instead, I sit and sip

                        iced tea.  A waitress brushes by,


                        a blonde. Her touch recalls for him,

                        a girl he knew when he was young

                        and only just been married.  “Home

                        then wasn’t really bad.”  Along

                        the pier, few empty slips.  “’For whom


                        the bells’ and all...and so I did.

                        It didn’t matter then, and now

                        from time to time it does. The deed

                        is father to the thought. I know

                        it goes the other way.  A dead


                        man has no tales to tell.”  He held

                        his glass, a garnet glow.  “A toast,”

                        he said and drank.  At first I hold

                        myself  quite still. I say, “A test,”

                        and lift my glass and grin.  Close-hauled


                        sail boats passed near by.  “What about

                        your wife?” I think, but do not say.

                        Instead, I settle back. A bit

                        of time goes by. “Oh, yes, I see.”

                        And fold as though he’d called the bet.






Last week the wind took down my apple tree.

I know the deer will miss their sweet windfall—

and gone the sweet white blossoms for the bee.

Last week the wind took down my apple tree,

with only  heaped up woodchips left for me

to cart away. What can I do but scrawl:

“Last week the wind took down my apple tree.

I know—the deer will miss their sweet windfall.”



News from Home


The green apples fell to the ground,

misshapen, wormy, fit to feed

the deer that come from the dark woods.

Deer gather daily in my yard.

Or so I hear.  They never came

when I lived there. Now they wander

around the neighborhood, greedy

  in the gardens, in the orchard

and the cornfields that surround 

these old homes. From a distance I

am glad to cede my yard to deer,

am glad they want my fruit, mere scarred

windfalls. They come soundless; startle,

speed off to vanish in the dusk.





   Copyright 2012 Miriam N. Kotzin

Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University, where she also co-directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing. She is a contributing editor of Boulevard and a co-founding editor of Per Contra.


Her collection of flash, Just Desserts, was published by Star Cloud Press in 2010.  She has published three collections of poetry, the most  recent Taking Stock published by Star Cloud in 2011. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Boulevard, Shenandoah, The Flea, Eclectica, Southern Humanities Review, and Confrontation.  Her work has received five nominations for a Pushcart Prize.