Day 3: [Every time I read the diary, I added words to John & Lena’s Story.]

It wasn’t one of those couches you could easily escape. The red walls, red-trim carpet, black couches. They were a couple, alright. Passing the creased shopping list back and forth with chattering eyes, whispers.

Even their hair matched, depending on the light.

“What is the purpose of a therapist?” I asked, into the room one day. The words floated.

I saw the exchange of glances, the clasping of hands, and knew it wasn’t marriage counseling. Not for them.

Needless to say, they never answered. Needless to say, the hunter came and took his old prey into the farthest room down the hall, the one with warm couches. The other hunter came for me next.

I focused on her red hair. Her false genetics.

We were both early, both ten minutes early, as though watching for the rain to run by.

I thought of John and Lena, the names I’d given the couple after blank stares. They’re probably Bob and Sue. Or Martha.

I asked again, “What is the purpose of a therapist?”

Her red lips stretched into the cheeks, away from the old teeth. “How are you feeling today, Sarah?”


The stone turns
over in its sleep
until there’s nothing left to say—
but Lenore…Lenore…


You asked me to forget about him, again.

But back then I really wanted my name to be Sarah.

You handed me a diary. Wrote down such words as “visual journaling” and “poetics.” Tore away the flowers in the corners, tore and burned my poetry, my memories. Insisted they weren’t real. But Lena and John were real, without names.


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 View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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