Miriam N, Kotzin
Before the show of yellow croci, snow
drops tell their lie—that winter’s almost done.
(All sing fa la, fa la.) My leather gloves,
grown stiff, are now but half a pair. I plan
to pocket my left hand when it gets cold
again. Alone, I’m Winslow Homer’s fox,
both stalked and stalking on a snowy shore,
a murder of crows at tail-end of day.
But when high summer comes, I like to sit
in Granny’s maple rocking chair that creaks
when I rock, the same as it did with her.
She liked to look out the screen door, pretend
surprise, and say that all the ice was gone.
She’d pause and raise her glass (iced tea or gin),
and add, “It melted in my drink.” She’d laugh
as though Bob Hope were cracking wise. She had
a way of putting things, as though she ate
an almanac for breakfast every day—
like, “Why is wisdom in a girl like lichen on a rock?”
About herself she’d say, “No one loves an old
ox or a dry lake.” And when I complained
I’d been mistreated, she’d declare, “If you
don’t want ants to spoil your picnic, leave
the food at home.” One time I fussed about
the heat? She said to “write the winter back:”
to “take it word by flake by flake by flake.”
She said, “You could be Winslow Homer’s fox.”
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 or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Boulevard, SmokeLong Quarterly, Eclectica, Mezzo Cammin, Offcourse, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other periodicals, and in anthologies. She is a contributing editor of Boulevard. She teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University.