Across the Ravaged Lake


The amount of time it takes
is unclear, and yet,

it happens—

the swan’s wings
carve down, down until the body

is meeting the water
and friction takes over.

Then—the hopelessness,

the petrification,

that suddenly-graceless body
is gripped and remolded

into ash, sulfur, stone.

I imagine how the feathers,
at the ends of the tail and wings, quiver

until the last moment. The tongue
and eyes, too, the yellow

glimpse, the black tongue,
before being neutrally pardoned

on a dull-gray lake.


Title taken from Nick Brandt’s Across the Ravaged Lake



About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in Indiana, where she works as a virtual assistant, editor, and freelance writer via her self-started business, MLT Creative. She 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 Poetry Editor for Third Coast. She previously completed her B.S. in Secondary English Education and B.A. in English, with a Concentration in Writing, at Indiana University South Bend, where she worked as the Managing Editor for 42 Miles Press. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Encore Magazine, Thank You for Swallowing, The Spooklet, Sleet Magazine, and Analecta, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared on The Rumpus and Motherly. When not writing, she enjoys art and music, and the simple mathematics of being a wife of one, a mama of two, and a cat-mom of three. For more, visit View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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