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Miriam N. Kotzin



A poet for a husband? Daughter, 

an empty purse makes a lumpy mattress.

The bride knows but one truth:

sleepless nights.

Her mouth is full— 

flattery and kisses

fill the rice bowl.

Every day he gives her a new poem: 

he fills their kitchen with stars—

sky black as the empty iron pot.


This is her poem:

water just boiled

two white porcelain cups.

This is her poem:

weak tea

still light trembles

at his footsteps

This is her poem:

Even now I know only one truth.

This is her poem:

long nights 

trembling light 

my only poem.


All those years you were stuck

on fast forward. Impatient. 

You wouldn’t wait for anything.

(You wouldn’t wait for me.)

You should have known how every 

day the sun masters a slow-mo dive

into each waiting lake, and, just 

before stars, the sky strips the lake 

of all its glimmering frills.

Every day, every blessed day.

You were in such a bloody rush.

With Attribution

Fog, of course, belongs

to Sandburg.  And Wordsworth

could lay claim to clouds,

especially lonely clouds. 

Rain’s gone to Millay,

or, in a loving mood, to



all day I’ve been listening to 

this rain as it simmers

on our metal sills.  

          The wind

(Shelley, to be sure, 

or, fairly, Anon.) is garrulous

in the leaves.

                         I cede the grass 

to Whitman. Near Frost’s woodpile, 

Kumin’s fat groundhog surveys 

our garden’s last bounty, 

then turns away at leisure.  

He’ll be dead and decaying soon 

enough (Eberhart, et al.), just

like the rest of us.

Miriam N. Kotzin is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017). Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). Her fiction and poetry have been published in anthologies and numerous periodicals such as Shenandoah, Boulevard, SmokeLong Quarterly, Eclectica, Mezzo Cammin, Offcourse, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University.

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