Just finished reading William Aberg and Maureen Alsop


The Blade

(for William Stafford)

As a boy, I made a blade
of my hand and held it
flush with the window
of our speeding car.

Telephone poles, great
windy chestnuts and oaks, tall
buildings, and green, bearing slopes–
I leveled them all exactly with my wake.

One day, I fear
I’ll have to live in that country.


Mornings, when the first
gold threads
wrap the trees, I sense
the light those strands withhold–
this is poetry: separating
each thread gently
with both thumbnails
until the light of the visible
blends with the light of the invisible.
Through this bright web
the fly extends its tiny, upturned hands.


both from The Listening Chamber: The University of Arkansas Press, 1997.



Late Twilight

The hawk’s small-boned gyre
fevers my shadow. I’ve returned
to this place winter first
found me. Back to a sea divorced
from storm; back to the lake
laced in kelp. Here, I swam
from one side of green to another.
Swawp reeds slowly fingered
my sternum. Stroke by stroke, my name froze
deeper into a feathery current. I received love
as well as I was able. But my heart,
my heart kept spinning.

Vernacular of Snow in Summer

Over my dinner plate’s strewn nebulae
of breadcrumbs, wild summer wrens
pick fresh the freshly picked. Then move off–aborted
somewhere between flies and cloud.

Since your death, in parts of my life, light
imitates scraggling boughs of pine. The sound of a chair

pushing back from the table is the unshakeable voicelessness
of snow–this, an almost tenderness. Before the sky
hatches open into a delirious dark, I am lathered

in the smell of village heat, smell of cardamom, brine, amber–
snatched by malingering bells sounding too close, sounding
like the shape of distance. And along the playa, pelicans
smash ribbed beaks into oceanic currents and waves

pulse with a seam of white.


both from Apparition Wren: Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2007.



About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in South Bend, Indiana, where she works as the Departmental Secretary of English and World Language Studies at Indiana University South Bend, and remains closely affiliated with 42 Miles Press, New Issues Poetry and Prose, and Wolfson Press. She previously received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and as an Assistant Editor of Poetry for Third Coast. Her poems have appeared in Encore Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Rogue Agent, Thank You for Swallowing, Whale Road Review, The James Franco Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Analecta; and her book reviews have appeared on her website and on The Rumpus. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and three cats. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com. View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: