The Patsy

Miriam N. Kotzin

She cups her hands over the candle. “You’re such a cynic.” The better part of her filet sits cold.

I could counter by asking her why she is such a patsy. But if I keep quiet, she will glide through her litany of complaints, and we’ll have a pleasant evening.

Her otherwise bare arms are braceleted with gold and amethyst, four bangles, one for each year. She rarely wears them, complaining that they snag her sweaters. I’ve tucked a fifth, wrapped, into my jacket pocket.

“Mr. Stone Face.” She cuts a dainty piece of meat, but does not fork it into her perfect mouth. On her plate, ovals of fat congeal on the surface of a red pool.

Her lips open and close. From time to time through her white teeth I glimpse her tongue. Her words float above her head like a Lichtenstein print. Her eyelashes curl long and thick. Her blonde hair shines in the candlelight. A fat tear on her cheek would complete the illusion.

I place my hands palms down on the wooden table and watch the bubble of words float, harmless, to the ceiling.


Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Her short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, Littoral and Xaxx. Online her poetry can be found online at the Drexel Online Journal, Three Candles, The Poetry Super Highway, and Word Riot. She used to like gardening, fighting black spot on rose bushes. E-mail: kotzinmn[at]

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