The First Way to Foster Children

I remember
how your hands were

filled like small


their legs,


days filled with poems –


like the one where you find
one of your manuscripts

in the garbage –
you look underneath a box of Krispy Kreme

and there is a stack of your poems –

in the order you had placed them,
followed by a section break

you entitled “Seagulls.”

A few corners bent
under the weight of coffee grounds

rather than a reader’s


I wanted to take
your heart
of diamonds

and fill it
until it was clearer,

like blood,
resembling something
we all

could touch.


I remember the summer when
the inflatable mattress


like pregnancy
and air.

Broken tent springs.

She watched you
over the fire,

her hair
almost blue,

evening flame
hanging over her neck.

Your eyes never met hers,

your pupils, small monsoons
of summer shade.

These are the secrets your hands were filled with.


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 View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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