Miriam N. Kotzin



I walk along a shallow woodland stream.
This summer afternoon's leaf-filtered light
falls lambent on the grass and stream alike.

So lit, the grassy path and stream alike
together make one liquid way. The stream
and path dissolve in summer’s leafy light.

I cup my hands to catch and hold the light
as if to drink. My hands, bare arms, alike
dissolve. One day I’ll step into the stream,

that stream sans light where all go down alike.

Bluff Note: Desdemona's Handkerchief

Who would have thought that such a flimsy scrap—
though cleverly embroidered—would undo
so many caught in sly Iago's trap?
He took the straight and made it seem askew.

Iago killed directly, too. His sword
dispatched Roderigo (duped and then betrayed).
Emilia, faithful wife, though she adored
Iago? Skewered on his blade.

Othello smothered Desdemona who
was innocent though he believed that she
had screwed around with Cassio. On cue
O killed himself to end the tragedy.

They could have all been spared this bloody bother
had only Desde listened to her father.

Postcard from Perry Hall:
Fireworks, New Year's Eve 2012

Another year kaput: the night
trite with stars, wishes, fire works.
A flight of peonies hangs above
the trees right behind the house, while
down the street white and red fountains
bloom and die, polite as garden
gnomes. Are they meant to frighten off
the evil spirits? To light the
new year in? Or to rend the night
with anything that's loud or bright?


As dragonflies soar in tandem glinting, one may
mistake their darting flight conjoined for something more:
the air now scored to Schubert’s Trout Quintet (in A)
as dragonflies soar.

A perfect fit, they flit in tandem. They explore
the margin’s feathered grasses, hover, zoom away.
Then they, perhaps another pair, appear offshore.

These two are still—or just—joined after some rough play
that happened out of view. Ach! yearning is a bore
or sham. But eight transparent wings! Ennui gives way
as dragonflies soar.


The morning sky's a scandal: Scarlet streaks
across a Maxfield Parrish blue. Asleep
you curl away from me. Awake you reach
and hold. Of these, which truth should I believe?
The dawn gives way, an analog retreat.
I try to creep from bed. The old frame creaks.
I will not make my getaway with ease.
You wouldn't name the cat. "I'd want to keep
a living thing I name," you said, a clean
divide. I call her "Cali-girl," and she
has claimed a corner of our room. For me
you have pet names to spare. As in a dream
I find my proper name has disappeared.
My given name. My last.

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 Stockpublished by Star Cloud in 2011. A fourth collection The Body's Bride is scheduled for publication early in 2013 by David Robert Books. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming inBoulevard, Shenandoah, The Flea, Eclectica, Southern Humanities Review, andConfrontation. Her work has received six nominations for a Pushcart Prize.

Photo credit. Al Gury