Friday, November 12, 2010

Two Poems by Miriam Kotzin

The Web

Even in January she goes bare-armed,
her hands heavy with silver
spiders and snakes and hollow-eyed skulls,
her wrists weighted and bound
by leather and chains.
On her throat under chains,
a pale scar gleams the width
of discrete surgery, of a slim blade.

She is barefaced and trembles.
And the fine bones of her face
are contradictions.

And even in January she goes bare-armed,
her arms untracked,
but her wrists,
what of her pale wrists?
Under the chains and the leather
do pink lines map the path
of an old flight?

And even in January she goes bare-armed,
on her left shoulder tattooed a blue web,
darker than veins,
a fat red spider,
brighter than blood.

The web spreads wider than my palm,
wider than my fingers can stretch.
I examine my palm, the lines webbed.
I sort out old scars.
I read the lines.
I listen to an octave
beyond my reach.

E Train

“Do not pass between cars while train is in motion.”

We hurtle through darkness.
The broken door slams back

in its track. The tunnel air
enters the car, an uneasy spirit.

The lights flicker. I stare at signs,
faces, fading stains on the floor.

I slip off my shoes, leave my purse
on the seat and move to the door.

I straddle the gap between cars, stand with
my hands raised, cold metal under bare feet.

The train twists my body, opens
me wider. Wheels scream.

I am a living X for a moment
of perfect balance on this last ride.

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