Customer Loyalty Program
The opposite of not existing
is shopping. I am less the name
given me than my portion
of our nation’s GDP. Student loan
interest rates and 401(k) projections
tangle on a graph, spurring one another
toward climax. I am my credit score
(777, which means I can afford
to gamble) by way of most common
denominator: the easiest consistent definition
for those who pass me on the street,
who sneeze into my collar, who walk
their dogs like their own sovereign nations.
The main export of dogs is love, because
that’s all we’ll take from them. I withhold.
I charitable contribution. I put into
a MEEK fund so I inherit whatever’s left me
when the wars are done. Take
the whips and minimum gags allowed
by law and say thank you, chew
on the inside of my cheek. I am alive
when restrained, know my body
by what it pushes up against.
I am putting in my dues, stretching
my life out till next week’s paycheck,
and the next; withhold a little bit
every other Thursday until
refund time, that time of year
all the S&M shops dream of, for we buy
new, plastic-smelling gags, we buy leather,
our own handcuffs. Will the nation
spoon us after? Do we need
SSN safewords? Are we expected to speak
with all this debt in our mouths, and what
would we say if it’s removed?
Copyright © 2018 Brandon Amico. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.