The Palette of Life

A Woman, Her Name, I don’t Know
by Matthew A. Toll

like the mayfly she’s got
silver, translucent wings
and lives by the water.
she thinks about her dead mother
while walking through a toy store
of red and blue and gold;
she has no kids of her own, but
she likes the bright colors
lining the life that is a store aisle.

a bad tooth and
no money to get it fixed,
she lives in the dreams
reflected in her bathroom mirror,
starring in only when the lights are off
with black eyes like her hair or
the blind night sky. she howls,
the street shrinks under her four-inch heels
like snow in late april.

her wings carry her over the swamp
through humid air,
wet, heavy, unforgiving as life,
unforgiving as late august sun.

a drop of rain is her death,
the swamp both a birthplace and graveyard
in a day
longer than time could measure.

a little girl laughed on land, but
she wasn’t listening,
distracted by something strange in the distance.


Matthew A. Toll currently lives in Brooklyn after a few years hiding out behind a sauté station for twelve hours a day in Burlington, VT. He’s had poems published online in Industry Night, Walking Is Still Honest, The Vehicle, GravelMag, Five2One, and elsewhere, and poems forthcoming in print in Willard&Maple and Big Muddy. Say hello:


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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