Two Poems by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

 Passing through Neighbor's Backyard



Smart Stay cannot detect your eyes


& why would I want it to—I prefer to remain hidden, pupils & crisis

averted, until all that is left is black screen, battery life


depleted, Word document Auto-saved & archived somewhere deep

in the C-drive. Some words are meant to be broken—the way sin


converts to skin so easily, or is it the other way around.


I’d like to think we’re all in this together, small conversions

& PDF files—the Little Green Leaf, my lost family & friends appearing


over & over on my News feed as more attempt to share & compare

their grief, new car advertisement & wouldn’t-you-like-to-hear-more-


about-life-insurance? Like & Share. I’d like to go where leaves

are still paired with trees instead of lost names, skin bare & sun-dried


& soft with dirt. I want to send my daughter straight out of her computer

screen & down a hill in a wagon like when I was young, because, here,


the world won’t forget us—it won’t be able to. I’d rather send her off

to the ocean, Strait of Otranto, Cadence & the Spoon: that slow & easy passage


of time: a lizard moving over a bed of leaves in the woods. Soundlessly.

Almost: the spine arching over fragile mountains. We all have something buried


somewhere, in the flower beds & our shared rooms, both bed & Chat,

the camouflage: pixels—those fish scale colors turning up wide.



Passing Through My Neighbor’s Backyard


Because her patio door is open, the sun

is pouring over a table


and chairs, all those rhododendrons

and pollen. In that light I can see


up the stairs and into

her living room, where the woman


is sleeping on her couch, bare feet crossed

and dangling off the end. Pink,


chipped toenails. In her sleep, she kisses

her knuckles, individually.


Stars on her hair.

I wonder where she is,


and when, and who is kissing

her hands—so slowly. The trees here


are quiet, almost courteous. They watch

over my shoulders. She moans


in her sleep. We are all such beautiful soldiers.



McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in South Bend, Indiana, where she teaches composition at Indiana University South Bend. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she also worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose. She specializes in poetry, stories, and book reviews. Her poems have appeared in Encore Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Rogue Agent, and Analecta; and her book reviews have appeared on The Rumpus.