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 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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