Unlike This Bed of Soft Tendrils

The first time you heard an ambulance, you
stopped dreaming – stopped dreaming of such romantic

inversions – like the hum of a whale,
the cactus flower

you turned into. A mother carries
the last basket of apples

from the garden and says they belong to you
(like ribbon and twine)

like music you never listened to.
You go wandering down someone else’s path

and start believing in God again.
As though He’s more than a shadow,

as though He has more to offer you
than a piano. Materialized –

like your father, He’s learned to sleep

on a bed of cactus leaves,
turning the wool from the barn

into soft blue blankets
that reminded you of water.

You turned away from the shape of a woman.
You learned when you were young

that you had a fear for scarecrows,
their faces grimy with rain water

all too like the reflection of something drowned
in the river. Like a fish. A lake of rafts.

You imagine a mother
leading her children down

into the current
swept away like

small white flags.


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

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