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Can Safety Matches Make Us Safe?

By Judith Arcana

You read the tiny cardboard book before
you scratch the strip under Augie's New Pizza
on the back of MIA: We still don't know
(and isn't that the truth?). Earn college
credit at home,
taking tests on a screen
being screened. Bad credit? We can help.
Remember to close cover before striking
or go out on strike /// three strikes: you're out
of the fire into a plastic frying pan, teflon
on electric glowing rings - not like when
your phone rings and someone tells you
what you know you don't want to know.

Added: Thursday, July 3, 2014  /  First published in 5AM (Summer 2011). Used with permission.
Judith Arcana
Photo by Alan Borrud.

Born and raised in the Great Lakes region, Judith Arcana lives now in the Pacific Northwest. She writes poems, stories, essays - and books, including Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography, and the poetry collection What if your mother. Judith's poetry and fiction have received chapbook publication awards: Here From Somewhere Else (2015) + Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture (2014). She is a Jane, a member of Chicago's feminist pre-Roe underground abortion service, and has written poems and stories rooted in that experience. Judith hosts a monthly poetry show on KBOO community radio in Oregon. Please visit her website

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