- Customer Loyalty Program
The opposite of not existingis shopping. I am less the namegiven me than my portionof our nation's GDP. Student loaninterest rates and 401(k) projectionstangle on a graph, spurring one anothertoward climax. I am my credit score(777, which means I can affordto gamble) by way of most commondenominator: the easiest consistent definitionfor those who pass me on the street,who sneeze into my collar, who walktheir dogs like their own sovereign nations.The main export of dogs is love, becausethat's all we'll take from them. I withhold.I charitable contribution. I put intoa MEEK fund so I inherit whatever's left mewhen the wars are done. Takethe whips and minimum gags allowedby law and say thank you, chewon the inside of my cheek. I am alivewhen restrained, know my bodyby what it pushes up against.I am putting in my dues, stretchingmy life out till next week's paycheck,and the next; withhold a little bitevery other Thursday untilrefund time, that time of yearall the S&M shops dream of, for we buynew, plastic-smelling gags, we buy leather, [End Page 52] our own handcuffs. Will the nationspoon us after? Do we needSSN safewords? Are we expected to speakwith all this debt in our mouths, and whatwould we say if it's removed? [End Page 53]
Brandon Amico lives in North Carolina. He is the winner of the Southern Humanities Review Hoepfner Literary Award for Poetry, and his poems have appeared in the Adroit Journal, the Awl, Booth, Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, and Verse Daily, among other publications.