The Book of Matches

Carlotta Guerra

Elsbeth Pancrazi


As you pass through the curtain
you forget what you came in for
and spend your whole time on earth
trying to figure it out.
Small, unyielding mystery—
the kernel of the fruit
is the only part you heed.




The soundlessness of sunlight
(the self-absorbed concentration
of daybreak
the tiptoeing around
the deferential morning
silent treatment at midday
oppressively vacant unparsable afternoon
moving into the wordless
companionship of dusk)
can bend a pencil in water.




We can’t see the stars.
They didn’t make their connection.
We don’t gather on the porch.
We thumb through the magazine.

Truth will out itself:
We do use our noodle.
Water finds its level.
We won’t rock the boat.

We unlatch the evening.




Two women facing one another
and the vase between them—I see that too now.
I have begun to forgive myself more readily.

And all my powers come
from having survived the ordinary
year after her death.

There are people who have opted not to mention it.
There are people who avoid you like the plague.

In the last year of her life mom asks
What does it mean when someone types
less than three?




Facing the road
waiting for the bus
living in parallel
puppets of wind

following the script
at the same time
each repeats her own name
spelling it carefully out
for the wind.




Learning to light a match
you burn through the book.
That’s how it goes
every step you take
toward greater knowledge
of our helplessness

step despair chuckle step




Let’s make a pact
the ant suggests
by crawling across my leg.
Be here, and I’ll
also be here
I overhear him saying
to the sun.



Carlotta Guerra

Carlotta Guerra is an Italian photographer based in Amsterdam and Los Angeles.

Elsbeth Pancrazi

Elsbeth Pancrazi’s first collection of poetry, Full Body Pleasure Suit, is forthcoming from Tavern Books in January 2017. She has been recognized for her work as a Poets House Fellow and an artist-in-residence at Caldera Arts. Her writing has appeared in A Public Space; Best New Poets 2013; BOMBlog; Forklift, Ohio; H_ngm_n; and Sixth Finch.