One Day He Asked Me How I Could Believe in God, and the Reply Didn’t Come for Years.

The first time I dreamed of Him was also
the last—

I sat at a long table that seemed to go on forever

gold and silver lights
that seemed to say Jesus everywhere—

and then He was there, holding a man as if securing him
after an early-aged heart attack.

The moment I tried to look at His face was like all the others:


I woke up—

and the moment that followed sent me into a turn
of retching and blood. I believed.

I prayed for the utility of my eye sockets then, the eyes
all water, peeling,

and the eye sockets were like cloth

until the eyes became nothing

but deep pockets

that couldn’t be filled for years.


As a child, I never believed in the others
the closest I ever came to a dream was

a tall, spidery man in a blood-red suit who
whispered in children’s ears, and

dark hunting creatures
that searched

for teeth, from rooftop to rooftop,

in the middle of the night—


We were once told in elementary school to
write a story about

the first time we lost a tooth,

as if we really remembered the when and where.

Later that morning we were told to fill out a ballet
for the next President of the United States

and were told our votes would count.

We were too young then not to believe it.


A man came and took away the stories and ballets and
threw them into a shredder’s large mouth.

The particles were expelled on the other side.
We watched. The eyes continued to fill.

The particles took the shape of trees.
The man’s fingers rotated counterclockwise.

The process went on for years.


At last, there is a spiraling shadow
placed in the corner—

the horse, the cross, the lawn chair,
the leftover bank statement—

they all taste the same in the end.

They always puzzle and chill and moan
in the earth’s cold surface

the same way we do,

looking off in the distance,

wondering what will come next.


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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