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The high school English teacher
who opened my mind to Ellison
and Woolf and Dostoyevsky,
who assigned Prisons We Choose to Live Inside,
turned out to be the worst sort
of zealot and purist, the kind
that postures for radical freedoms publicly
and abuses and controls privately.
A person who tattooed my friend’s name
on his arm
in one of the countless ways
he attempted to confine her
in his house.
What is this “choosing?”

On the wall
of the domestic violence shelter
where I answer calls,
there is a Robert Frost quote:
“The only way out is through.”
I have to wonder
what he would have to say
in our time.
Whether he would willfully ignore
every kind of prison
different people live inside,
puzzled why they don’t just
open the door.

Elizabeth Galoozis is a poet and librarian living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has been published in Faultline, Sinister Wisdom, Mantis, and Not Very Quiet. Her poem “The Grove” was a finalist for the Inverted Syntax Sublingua Prize for Poetry. Her scholarly work has been published in The Library Quarterly, College & Research Libraries, and ACRL Press.

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