NaNoPreWrite #2 (Oct. 25)

It is one of those days, and I am in my rebel skin.

I stand outside, and it is cold, and I am wearing a jacket that is made out of three different types of fabric—red and gray and gray skulls. I’ve made holes in the sleeves for my thumbs; I’ve cut the fingers off of my gloves; and I’ve called them “art.”

I hold birds in my hands until it is as though they were domesticated.

Today, my English teacher said we were going to write poetry, and I spent too much time telling her that I already knew what poetry was. So she asked me what poetry was, and I stopped and listened, and I said:

It’s what the sun looks like when it disappears for the night.

I spent too many minutes writing a poem in the shape of a crow, of writing that boy a note that may only mean a memory in five years, but still, it is his hands, it is his breath, that matters to me now. So I spend the time on writing the note and forget to turn the poem in, and it’s like middle school all over again.

After school, I run across the building, feeling the mixture of heat coming from the overhead vents that are bent from students jumping up and touching them, and the cold from the air that comes in through the opening and closing side doors, and the coolness and smells drifting from the photography and sculpting rooms.

They are all so silent. And yet they are there.

I turn one more corner and can hear my feet hitting the floor—one, two, three—one, two, three—and I land in front of a dark classroom, and when I turn the door, it does not move; she has gone, she is gone for the day, and here I am, standing here with this poem that only moves in the corners, the corners shifting the air as one door continues to open and close, open and close… I drift

out into the open.


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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