Looking Back: My Moment in Slam Poetry

I’m planning on sending some work out over Spring Break, so I was looking back through some of my poems, older and newer, and I came across something rather interesting—a collection of Slam Poetry pieces I wrote early in my undergraduate career. I found one in particular, “Tree Secrets,” that is kind of fun; thought I’d go ahead and share. It’s interesting to see how far my work has come. . .

TREE SECRETS (working title)

I miss you; I miss you in the way I was never meant to miss
anyone. Not the way others miss you, no,
the way a girl might find herself searching
for ways to hear his voice again—
a recorded message, a snippet on the radio
from a man who sounds like you—
a girl who tapes together pieces of paper
that eventually look like you—a string, a feather, a marble.
These are the things she has left of you,
the things I leave on the table, just out of reach,
so I can miss them as much as I miss you.
That way, some morning, we can rise like the stars do,
and when you’ve arrived here,
I can hold these things in my hands and say,
look! look at what you’ve left me with.
The stars are left, wide open, on the sky;
there are dogs loose in the street.
Women walk them. Men park their cars. Silence is not frequent here.
Your voice is lost somewhere, inside, behind a closed door,
probably with another woman, by now, but still—
I find myself awake and counting:
counting these things that are collected on the table,
on a windowsill, sometimes under a pillow,
wishing like children’s teeth, for something better,
trees put back in time, somewhere before winter,
before they’ve lost the golden leaves.
That’s what they continue to search for; they say,
rewind. put back the clock.

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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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