ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Miriam Kotzin.


Cemetery Visit.

The grass is purpled with flowers,
an uncertain bloom
at the mercy of mowers
who call across rows of names.

The falling shadow
cracks the grave's window.

I am invisible where I stand:
two granite plaques at my feet,
two small stones in my hand.



Fire Flight.

for David Kendall Danciger (1923-2004)
            Captain, B-17 in the 550th Squadron, 385th bomber group

He, whose humor
sparked like flint,

now grounded,
lies in a grave

silence.  Earth
bound, he is still

light: through fire
landed, carried home.




After Dickinson

Why should I stop for Death?
He would not stop for me —
Instead, he cruised right by
Pretending not to see

Me waving here — Although
The winter light is dim —
I recognize his Escalade —
A certain formal black.

I couldn’t hear his music —
Yet I still feel
His beat — just watch him — now -—
Cool jamming on the wheel.




A red tail hawk circles high 
above the valley. We’re weeks away
from spring up here. Already fields are
green before the furrowing plow, 
and shad berry trees are blooming 
white along the road far below us.  

Up here spring arrives, a long sigh;                
it moves up one hundred feet a day,                 
climbing the mountain from its start far                 
in the valley. Watch. You can see how
it creeps up, a green unfolding,              
the sweetest seasonal  calculus.   

Sometimes I want to go down and lie
in the forest, to sleep in the way
of climbing spring, so when the last star
fades, I will wake up to a green vow,
while overhead, soft green scaffolding
holds song birds calling  “why fuss?  why fuss?”


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 work, which has received six nominations for a Pushcart, has been published in or is forthcoming in Of(f)course, Shenandoah, , Snow Monkey, Eclectica, Frigg, The Flea, The Tower Journal, and Boulevard.  Her latest collection of poetry Taking Stock (Star Cloud 2011) joins Weights & Measures (Star Cloud 2009) and Reclaiming the Dead (New American Press 2008) and a collection of flash, Just Desserts (Star Cloud 2010).  David Robert Books will publish a fourth collection of poems, The Body's Bride early in 2013.

Her work has appeared frequently in Offcourse. See her Three Poems in Issue #45.

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