Tiffany Troy: “A Thank You Card”

A Thank You Card


The Friend told the Nurse that he believed in her
in the lengthy walk

they took along the river:
How could you think of me as duplicitous?

The river intensified the nausea,
but most of all, the guilt

that no black forest cake or clam chowder could ever fix.
Soon, she realized that the only one of them she trusted,

who cared so much about patients dying 
from the higher-ups’ cover-ups,

was following a wrought script, which read Break Her.
She could no longer look herself in the mirror.

Can’t this wait till normal business hours?, he asked.
People are fucking dying!


Her Friend was two persons in one: 
a kind Friend and a cold Doctor.

The Nurse protested that people were dying.
You are being too sensitive. Can’t you move on? 

As her Friend lied through his teeth,
the Nurse sought to sweep mines with her toes.

She ate mounds of chocolate instead of lunch.
Her Mama took away the chocolate box and cooed.

Still the helplessness gnawed at her spirit.
She goaded, she pleaded, she even threatened— 

everything but falling to her knees and kowtowing. Still her Friend
didn’t budge, calling it an interpersonal conflict-turned

legitimate concern a three-hour walk later.
She couldn’t coat her upset with honey. 


Poor communication: the compass rose
to which she was pinned, when wasn’t the problem

that she made herself too clear? Her Friend took her back
to the emerald green house, blindfolded.

She was slapped for not finding the bedroom, knocked out 
for complaining about the faulty mental map.

The Friend fed her the elixir of comfort 
as she grew dependent on his friendship. 

The Doctors removed her first by removing her from the practice group,
then by creating a new group without her.

She realized No prayer will ever do anything, if the bureaucrat
is leading the decent human in you by the nose.

Inexperienced and unattuned to the industry, she said No
to her Friend’s pills for the third time and prayed.


Her Friend cursed just like Master
who planned the future with Odyssean cunning.

Her Friend took long, fast strides. He bent low 
to help the patients to their feet

while the other Doctors stood by.
The Friend told the Nurse he could never say what he meant:

when he was her only way out of this double bind maze.
She wasn’t blind to the little favors he did for Mama

which disoriented her. If only he could stop his off-script 
kindness, was that too part of the game?

Towards the end, the Nurse got her friend a card
with scorpion grass the grey-blue of his eyes.

Nowadays, she imitates his style and signs off:
In kindness and with respect.


This will most likely be our last meeting as friends
because I can no longer trust you.

The Nurse put the card away in her drawers
before taking it out and putting it back again.

The grey-blue petals: her Friend and the patients.
She downed Mama’s earl grey with too much cream.

She didn’t say this to her Friend, but 
she would still jump the lake

if drowning was his happily ever after. 
But she couldn’t wave the white flags.

She must stay sane, to listen to that ever-louder clangor, 
to see with her eyes that vain duplicity.

The blue bells bloom and shred
her soul into card-stock pieces.

About the Author: Tiffany Troy is an interviewer and reviewer. Her interviews and reviews are published/ forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, The Cortland Review, The Los Angeles Review, EcoTheo Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, where she serves as an associate editor.

Image Credit: Hilma af Klint “Evolution, No. 13, Group VI” (1908) Public Domain

Tiffany Troy: “Wedding-bound Million-Dollar Dream”

Wedding-bound Million-Dollar Dream


While people around me are getting married and having kids,
I am chained to the bottom of the sea.
“A start,” they say. What fools they are, like you.
I’ll get married before you, that’s for sure. I’ll go: “Excuse me,

Stranger, won’t you marry me?” (I have a bet
I need to win.) Just as your daddy and mommy
won’t let you marry your rich childhood friend a caste below you,
Master, as Aeneas did, dreams of resuscitating a lost dynasty,

which is difficult because his “busted” deposition
sounds like “bastard.” I was going to write back
“Bastard is not part of Master’s lexicon,” award-winning
Bullshit Artist that I am. Bounced between Master who says if only 

he was me, and School filled with 
pricks who teach me Shame, my World shimmers 
with lunacy. Come morning, Master will fill the bathtub with water
waking me up alongside my million-dollar dreams, bubbling.



When I hear the water thunder, I do not give thanks. 
I curse pink-puckered dawn, who mocks us for still not knowing
the Rules of the Game at the back 
of our hands. They call us “incompetent,”

“not duly diligent,” and “inadequate.” As the water
runs through me, I struggle to meet and confer
with one jerk after the other as you wait
for “please understand” to KO tenderly.

When the phoenix rises, we will no longer be pariah
pinned to the wall for our lousy copy-and-pasted work.
The troubadours will not sing of Master texting 
the Defendants’ counsel about “shaking the mango tree.”

At nine p.m., unbillably, I play you weird animal music 
before marching you to the 7 train
as you joke how each case is a million-dollar case
and I how this is my first walk outside of the Office.


I swear—soon—we’ll leave
evil ladies tugging at men’s shirts behind
garbage bags in treeless streets
and go to your home in India, where the summer is even hotter

than the hellfire of New York.
It’ll only take a case or two under the largess of judges who ought to be on meds
for me to sit in the front row as your VIP,  
all beaming in giving my Emma Woodhouse speech.

Then we will live happily ever after. That is, once troubles
worse than Achilles'
can be fought by lesser mercenaries,
Master will not dump me

for his trainloads of girlfriends
prettier and younger than I am,
leaving me alone with 
my million-dollar dreams.

About the Author: Tiffany Troy is an interviewer and reviewer. Her interviews and reviews are published/ forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, The Cortland Review, The Los Angeles Review, EcoTheo Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, where she serves as an associate editor.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Lemur Food” (2021)

Revisiting 2019: Our 50 Most Popular Posts of the Year


Dear As It Ought To Be Magazine Readers,

As we enter the next decade, I want to thank all of the writers and readers who have made our tenth year so successful. I take enormous pride in working with so many talented and inspiring writers. Without your brilliance and generosity of spirit and intellect, none of this would be possible. It has been a great privilege to publish your work on our site, and I hope to continue featuring diverse perspectives, challenging ideas, and unique voices for years to come. As a way to look back on what we accomplished in 2019, I have complied the 50 most popular posts of the year based on internet traffic and clicks.

Thank you again to everyone who wrote for, read, and promoted AIOTB Magazine in 2019. Let the 20s roar again!

Chase Dimock
Managing Editor



Jason Baldinger:

Ishrat Bashir:

Jai Hamid Bashir:

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal:

Jeffrey Betcher:

Ace Boggess:

Daniel Crocker:

John Dorsey:

Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

Tony Gloeggler:

Nathan Graziano:

Cord Moreski:

Jeanette Powers:

Stephen Roger Powers:

Jonathan K. Rice:

Kevin Ridgeway:

Damian Rucci:

Anna Saunders:

Larry Smith:

Nick Soluri:

William Taylor Jr.:

Alice Teeter:

Tiffany Troy:

Bunkong Tuon:

Agnes Vojta:

Kory Wells:

Brian Chander Wiora:

Dameion Wagner:



Daniel Crocker:

Nathan Graziano:

John Guzlowski:

Cody Sexton:

Carrie Thompson:



Chase Dimock:

Mike James:


Photo Credit: Fire Works At New Year’s Eve via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

“A Familial Scene” By Tiffany Troy



A Familial Scene

In the flat hills of the village
Next to the tiny streams irrigating the wheat
The sweat hangs, clinging.
Like tears—cleaving skin—to that tight white blouse
Before dropping to the ground the hour before dark
As the hornpipe and the heart swell with yearning
Waiting for the hour to sit down as the blood-orange red sun sits 
Momentarily in the embrace of the hay 
As the colors of the world drained away by the shoulder aching
Until at last that salmon roe of a sun finally bursts
Letting out all that is glowing, glistening, 
bulging, bleeding, burning
the riding hood in scarlet face facing against the sun, still
waiting for the prodigal son.

Her brother. 
Returning but never 
returning from his adventures with women.
Her scythe will one day take her father away, she thought,
as the sun ravaged her baby white skin, toughed it, burned it.
Like her pink soft lips. 

A moment of translucent clarity–that boundary of brown–
That all colors melt to 
like the ground–dappled with her sweat.
Yet at the beginning of darkness, she sees, distinguishes still:
The purple dome and the church she never saw, and had no use for.
For that was the color that lured her brother away.
She had no use for that grandiosity.
She wondered if she still retains faith in Father,
When the sun sets and the moon comes by
And the silence of the night perturbs memory
Of Father who knew it all and talked
but was powerless
to stop the destruction of his son.


About the Author: Tiffany Troy is a poet based in Flushing, Queens. Her poems have appeared in Chrysanthemum, Portales, Tabula Rasa, Quarto, and the Underground and have been awarded the Core Scholar Prize and Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. She is a CA/T Community Class participant since 2017. This poem was written in the Art of Ekphrasis, taught by Emma O’Leary in Spring 2019.


Image Credit: Jules Breton The Song of the Lark (1884) Public Domain