9 | marissa bell toffoli

on dark days


Abandoned landscapes, forest, desert, fallen-apart cities, beckon
with lonely arms flung wide. Finally, space to lose a person.
Couldn’t go alone, though. Nobody can.
Not to mention, landmines lurk.

Thirst for escape, for a moment,
a morsel of time to myself.
This far from home it seems easy to leap
into the unknown. A simple inhale, exhale, walk on

to risk everything. Leave behind love
packaged with any loose doubts. Begin again
more selfishly, wear a thicker skin.
Never could roll up my sleeves to hide

what’s worn there. It seems only vultures
sort through the mess of being alive
without interference, and in doing so
dismantle works of art. I circle

and land. Dive, swoop, circle, and land.
Wait until time runs out to admit to anything.
Don’t remind me. Casualties are inevitable.


marissa bell toffoli lives in Berkeley, CA. Her favorite things are long trips to faraway places with her husband, and reading with a cat in her lap. She holds an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. When she’s not writing, Marissa is a poet teacher with California Poets in the Schools, reads submissions for Zoetrope: All-Story, and works as an editor. Recently, her poems have been published in Idiolexicon, RHINO, Train Tracts, and Beeswax Magazine.