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Toti O’Brien

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), and An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020).


I will die as if surrendering to a stampede of horses.
Mine will be the glory of their hoofs tramping
the outline of what was my body, but will
instantaneously melt into burning asphalt, flatten
into the shape of a freeway like Daphne morphed
into a bush, when chased by some lustful god.
In a flash I’ll stretch into myriad particles,
crushed stone and thick oil. After the stampede
will come carriages and the equanimity of tires.
On my right, ocean waves. My left side will skirt
a rugged cliff. There will be a turn out where a car
will stop, to allow rival siblings to get out
and scream their bitter truth. From the turn out
they’ll notice a cove, a sunbathing girl, head tilted back,
staring at the hillside behind her, as it smoothly
tumbles towards the beach. She will sigh, mesmerized
by the soft curvature of the slope, by its promise
of bliss. Past the girl, past the ultramarine expanse
will loom another shore, and someone will claim
to have seen Morgana, that morning. They will claim
the other coast turned upside down, mountaintops
rooftops, steeples probing the deep, deep blue waters
people’s feet suddenly brushing the sky.
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