Your Hands, Like Discarded Feathers


That morning, you told me
you were terrified of poetry

as a child.

You told me stories
of vines, stories of the things

that continue to remain. I spent
the following days imaging

the dark circles

left in the woods
behind your house,

looking in.


They were like tall flowers, bruised
in the sunlight, darker from dawn to dusk,


I asked you many questions.
Still, the story returned: your hands,

like mounted birds,

your hands,

like leftover fields that

could never stop turning.


You pictured me
in a carnival-esque setting, circa 1946.

You never explained why, but
I could imagine: the gray tones,

the dust, the leftover pollen
from what could only have been



These are thoughts I left you with,
your mother and father,

their bodies spinning in orbit

like a cloud,

like nothing more than a disintegrating sunset,

the receding tide, reaching

for whatever comes next.

Writing about receding stars.


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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