The Day My Brother was Immortalized on a Piece of Oversized Canvas


(a poem influenced by Philip Levine)

In that moment, my brother was beautiful:
it was after visiting hours,
nurses unaware of the car parked
two hours too late, and
his pale fingers nearly blended
into the bed sheets.
Only the fingernails were visible,
a sickly yellow,
dirt under the nails
from planting flowers.
I focused on these and
ignored his lazing eyes that
reminded me of fall leaves,
the autistic mouth,
the comma of hair falling
over his forehead.
These are the moments
that stay with me,
only days after sickness arrived,
only days away from the word
sickness being forbidden
by my brother. When I remember
these things, these moments of color,
I try to remember more and
can only think of the sky and
its obsession with falling.
Bodies become a black mass
until all that is left is darkness,
so many falling insects,
the supernovas,
the falling stars.
The moment when the body
falls and the Pollack-nature
of man to sidewalk begins.
The moment of fall-leaf eyes closing,
drifting somewhere towards sleep,
sometimes towards falling,
sometimes where sickness waits,
sometimes where there is
red and black to canvas, like birds
that never stop turning.


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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