Shelf Life

by Frederick Pollack

Those with date-stamps
fear time running out, the others time itself.
One may be lifted, stroked, one’s scent
covertly enjoyed (for plastics
like flesh emerged from the primordial soup,
preservatives from stars),
one’s barcode may be scanned, one’s tags cut off
and one belong at last, and still
that ghost will haunt and own.
If one could be converted back
into money, which alone
is changeable and free,
or into that pure speculative force
behind all things … Instead,
halfway to landfill, immediately out
of fashion, one gazes
shyly at you and says
(like an instruction manual never read),
I am your product.

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. His other poems are in print and online journals. He is also an an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.