Reasons to Say Your Name Aloud Against the Screaming Trains

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April 2, 2023 by The Citron Review

by Jozie Konczal

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Once you claimed to be no good at writing poems. You said you didn’t like
ghazals but when you wrote one, it ended with a plea: please don’t let life happen

to me and I have no way to reach backward, no way to weave words out of a knitted
darkness. We’d barely begun. Your fault you never saw what happened

to Walter White, your fault you never had a chance to try on the new brand
of cologne I bought to replace the smoke you used to wear. Here’s what happened:

I last saw you between two doors. Like purgatory if you’d believed in purgatory. I could
have saved you, I once thought. Here I’m left at a loss about how life started happening

without you. You made a nest there in that bathtub, I imagine, before you pressed
a cold mouth to yours. They say the dead don’t really stop happening

until their names die too in the mouth of the last living person who knew them
and told their stories. I have known myself to happen

across stretches of tracks and think it’s you coming closer. Brian, when you speak to me
now your breath is such a soft gust against my cheek that I’m still not sure it happened.


Jozie Konczal is a writer from South Carolina. In 2019, she earned an MFA from the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University. Her work has been featured in Ninth Letter, Okay Donkey, FERAL, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for Palette Poetry’s Emerging Poet Prize in 2021. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys making playlists and shopping for candles. She currently lives and writes in Alexandria, Virginia.



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