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 Indiana, where she works as a virtual assistant, editor, and freelance writer via her self-started business, MLT Creative. She 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 Poetry Editor for Third Coast. She previously completed her B.S. in Secondary English Education and B.A. in English, with a Concentration in Writing, at Indiana University South Bend, where she worked as the Managing Editor for 42 Miles Press. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Encore Magazine, Thank You for Swallowing, The Spooklet, Sleet Magazine, and Analecta, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared on The Rumpus and Motherly. When not writing, she enjoys art and music, and the simple mathematics of being a wife of one, a mama of two, and a cat-mom of three. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com. View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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