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 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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