The Age of Last Purchases
You’ve done the math, figured family
history, actualized diet and exercise.
Submitted DNA. And this purchase here?
It’s your last refrigerator. That, your last stove.
Last washer, last dryer. Last television machine.
Last cat you’ll open the back door for.
Thank god, the last mumbling manipulatives
of your last car salesman. Last chance
to kick the tires, but you opt out. Never have,
never will. What is this kicking the tires, anyway?
You could look it up, google it on your last
cellphone, but the keyboard’s too sensitive
under your quivering fingers, trembling
echoes of how your elderly father struggled
with the petal-thin pages of the old dictionary
he kept in the silverware drawer so he could settle
dinnertime arguments: spelling, etymology, the year
of the Louisiana Purchase. Why it’s called the Dead Sea.
So he could have the last word, close the deal
once and for all, without getting up.
Barry Peters and his wife, the writer Maureen Sherbondy, live in Durham, NC. He teaches in Raleigh. Publications include The American Journal of Poetry, Best New Poets, New Ohio Review, Poetry East, and Rattle.