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?”

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.

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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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