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Tracy Mishkin

Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Butler University. She is the author of three chapbooks, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s (Finishing Line Press, 2014), The Night I Quit Flossing (Five Oaks Press, 2016), and This is Still Life (Brain Mill Press, 2018). She lives in Indianapolis with her family and fewer than ten cats and dogs.


Everything was in flames. Books
and newspapers. A pile of boards
by the kitchen window.

Hindsight said smoke crawled
under the door for days.
Logic said where there’s smoke.

Spontaneous combustion isn’t. Fire smolders inside us.
We talked about the water, like 60% of our bodies
would be enough.

We forgot the dull, crucial words
like plan and share. We attended only to the shiniest things.

We told ourselves that fire is just a faster kind
of rust. We said we’d never reach
the flashpoint.

I wish we’d known that flammable and inflammable
both meant we’d be consumed.
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