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Sample Poems by Miriam Kotzin


Each year I wait for the old pear to bloom,
to stand adorned again in frothy white,
a brazen backyard bride without a groom.
Each year I wait for the old pear to bloom,
I stand beneath the tree, the air a tomb
of scent and petals. Spring's a passing blight
each year. I wait for the old pear to bloom
to stand adorned again in frothy white.

The Itch

On certain summer afternoons
when shadows stretch across the lawn
and deer come out-five doe, one fawn-
a distant wood thrush pipes his tunes.

The deer have come to graze on grass
and stretch for apples on the tree.
There's bounty here for them and me:
The thrush song glints like opal glass.

But not all afternoons are filled
with ease. Some days all song is stilled-
by what? Perhaps I do not hear,
attending only to what's near,
distracted, itching to be thrilled.
But air-born song cannot be willed.

Dinner in Babie Lato

You call them "flowers." I'll just call them "weeds"
tonight. It pleases me to think of all
that green and gold and white, that purple splash

gone nameless in a meadow. Age succeeds
by seasons' slow processional. Let's call
them only "glorious at sunset." Cash-
eight dollars weighted by loose change-a tip

you calculated waits. I tug my shawl
around my shoulders, tap my cup. A slash
of orange streaks the azure sky, a blip-

hot flash.

Spring Cleaning

Her candles tilted at the night;
now winter's gone. Her curtains stir.
My neighbor stands without a screen
before the window framing her.

She stands at once before, behind.
She smiles and lifts her hand as though
she'd wave, describes arc after arc
across the glass. Her motions flow.

She scrubs the glass as though she needs
to rub the winter from the pane.
She lifts the sash, finds trembling air,
the hyacinth in bloom again.


At noon the surface of the lake
was slick with glare. We chose to lunch
at lakeside anyway. The look
was cheerful, just 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 theme encouraged me. They rang
a different tune for him. They sang
"restrained" and "moored." I was dead 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 to him
a girl he knew when he was young
and only just been married. "Home
then wasn't all that bad." Along
the pier, few empty slips. "The bloom

was gone too soon. That's why I did
the running with the others. Now
sometimes I wonder, though. The deed
should follow thought, and yet I know
for me it went before.... I've said
too much already." And he held
his glass, a garnet glow. "A toast,"
he said and drank. At first I hold
myself in check, then blurt, "A test,"
but lift my glass and grin. Close-hauled

sailboats pass nearby. What about
his wife? I know he'd never say,
and yet he's shown his hand-a bit
of luck to learn so much. I sigh
and fold as though he'd called the bet.