Summer 2016 - THE POTOMAC

Three Poems

Miriam Kotzin



The helicopter hovers, angling
for the best shots, and

the cameraman leans too far out
because he misses the logic of Iraq

where cratering destruction
invested its own calculus.

The craft rocks in the cradling air
before it turns away.

On the ground someone
says, "Jesus, Jesus," half-swear,

half–prayer. Still, who can resist
peering into the sudden depth

when, as invitation,
the grave earth opens?


Self–Portrait with Wide–brimmed Hat and White Sundress

There goes "My Sweet Indulgence" cruising by,
her sails unfurled. "Last Chance" comes right behind.
The order of their passage is a wry
reminder: time may prove to be unkind.

Perhaps it's my imagination, but
"Last Chance" has slowed. On deck the crew all wave
to me—to me! I wave right back. Well, what
would you expect? How should a girl behave?

I call myself a girl although you see
a woman, middle–aged, but slim and still
(often enough) complaisant. I agree
to this and that, engendering good will.

I've gathered rosebuds; many thorns have scratched
and pricked me, but I am, as yet, unmatched.


Weltanschauung on the Riverbank

I read "Whatever" painted on her stern
in cursive gold and black as she sailed by.
"Whatever" claims a perfect unconcern—
or disregard that obviates reply.

"Whatever" may declare the speaker's scorn,
antipathy, or an ennui that's deep,
an otherwise in–F–able low–born
boredom. Or maybe a life–view to keep.

I'd like to know how I might be prepared
to face oncoming demons with aplomb;
to lose true love as though I'd never cared;
to answer tyranny, but not succumb.

I'd like to know how to say "whatever"
when whatever hits the fan and stinks forever.

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