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Author: McKenzie

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.

Art Museum

 

1.

There are still fields
where the crops

split open

into other fields.

The crows become
a canyon

that opens its mouth

revealing

a dust storm.

 

2.

You walk into a museum
and focus

on a set of inverted

paintings—

a cropping of heads
mounted

on pivoting sticks

that sing.

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I am not this tree.

Where did these bricks
come from –

perhaps they were trees
and olive branch

burned

in a santuary window.
As though to throw off

the jack-in-the-box image,
the mouth of an auditorium

the Keynote is the inversion of a ghost

– what do they aspire to?
A tree, a lime –

burning with seeds –

burning in the window.
You do not exist.

You do not place the flowers
on this four-legged

coffee table.

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The “colossal wreck”

How large must the statue be
when

buildings are buried
like small ships

once floating
in a sea of sand,

flesh-turned
-clay figurines walking

under the dome
that is brushed with sand

and wind and grass
that touches

two amputated legs.

*

Inspired by “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Corn Field

1.

A house was parked
floating
on a vineyard where

scarecrows frowned upon a funeral.

The mother said,
“And this is where you were made –”
pointing to the area

between

her legs.

2.

That winter,
corn stalks
and cactus leaves

coexisted.

The child pictured
a machine
fueled

by wax and steel,

by jars of small glass eyes –

3.

And he pointed to where
he buried a vessel

where the roots

of unseen cactus
could feast

on the young.

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The Day I Left Candles At His Grave Sight

I think of him
every year on my
birthday –

He died of a stomach ache –

I remember how
I wrote poems and
plastered them on

the walls
as though they might

accumulate
into a
thirteen-year-old boy.

I imagine how
his eyes

would be replaced
with small worlds,
his hands holding

desert sand and
sea grass

instead of
the usual
Indiana corn

and coffin nails.

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Stones Are More Easily Thrown Backwards

Corpses are simpler to identify
in the spring. As horses

as glass, with broken knees
fractures of teeth

what little ivy they have eaten
that remains

in their digestion
in the grass

in the weeds
of the mirrors

of horses

of confetti

of coffins.

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