A new poem by M.A. Schaffner

Product Safety

A lack of clarity facilitates
streamlining. Only when we know what’s gone
do the outsourced return to haunt us.
The pen never quivers as the sword, but

strikes when and where it wants the relative
harmony of silence. Take this gas station:
the sullen immigrant in the booth flips

channels like burgers and barely needs a life
for this kind of living. Further along
the tenth generation checks into detox
with the same odds of begging Mohawks
off their scalps. And why should they have good ones?

Whatever we say now of death by torture,
it was a way to slow things down. Time was
you built a longhouse for the whole clan. Then
it was little cabins for the family. Now

it’s an extra large room for the giant screen,
and no questions asked because it would be
both unpatriotic and a little too clear
to take what you want without wanting more.