Dolores is in the moment.

Dolores is a woman left out-of-doors, while all the neighbors close their

To them, Dolores is a plague creeping down their streets, palms pressed on one
          door after the next.

Dolores is a piece of shit, they say. Everything Dolores touches turns stupid.

But Dolores is much more than that.

Dolores is a shadow and a skeleton and brain matter.

Dolores is good—in here.

Dolores buys fake fingernails for her sister at Christmas time. Dolores loves
          her sister’s kids.

Dolores is a bruised eye and split lip.

Dolores wants a better life.

Dolores is kicked at a stoplight and is left for dead in a train yard.

Dolores did not ask for this.

Dolores did not ask for the pulled hair and daily beatings and hard sex.

Dolores equals Desperation. When she shoots, the bullet dives in.

Dolores is intuitive; she knew not to depend on her neighbors.

They would not save her.

Rather, Dolores thought, it is the land, the ground, that saves us.

And, so, the gun connects in Dolores’ hand.


Form inspired by Deb Olin Unferth’s short-short, “Deb Olin Unferth”

The character, “Dolores,” based on Edward Allen Baker’s short play, Dolores


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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