Forever Stamp

 

-Is that a guarantee?
          Grandpa Ben’s response at age 87
          when the DMV clerk handed him his renewed
          driver license and said, “This one’s good for another four years.”

Photo: courtesy of Virgil DiBiase

I have the same question
about the Forever Stamp, USA First-class
written alongside the cracked Liberty Bell.
Forty-two cents, good for an ounce.
Good through the depletion
of fossil fuels, the rise of oceans,
the desert’s expansion, the disappearance
of the atmosphere as we know it.
Good in domes and through world wars.
Accepted by all mail carriers
in all countries for all time, none of whom
will ever laugh in the face of an optimist
who once invested in stickers.
Good through exponential growth,
the spread of new viruses, meteors,
A-bombs and H-Bombs, letter bombs,
the nuclear winter, the return to sticks and stones.
Good when only cockroaches remain,
scuttling in the rubble, to find Forever Stamps
so they can mail themselves to planets
with younger stars for suns.

“Forever Stamp”
First published in Redivider, Volume Seven, Issue One
reprinted with permission in Fans of My Unconscious, Black Rock Press, 2013


What’s Best

 

Photo: courtesy of Virgil DiBiase

Some would say
if I want what’s best
for our earth and oceans and future,
I should consume
no animal products,
or at least limit myself
to that which is produced humanely
and on a small scale.
I shouldn’t eat grapes
picked by underpaid workers, grain
grown in razed forests.
I shouldn’t consume anything
that has been transported a great distance,
shouldn’t shop in stores
run by underpaid employees.
I shouldn’t buy products
made of plastic, or wrapped,
and I shouldn’t throw the plastic in the trash.
I shouldn’t throw away aluminum,
tin, glass, paper, anything.
I shouldn’t drive a car or fly on planes. I shouldn’t
bear children, but if I must, I should
have only one, and I should not spoil it.
I shouldn’t diaper the baby in disposables
or use water to wash cloth.
I shouldn’t live in a big house and shouldn’t
heat or cool it using electricity or gas.
I shouldn’t dry my clothes in a dryer, take baths
or long showers. I shouldn’t leave the tap running
while I wash dishes or brush my teeth.
I shouldn’t water my yard on odd days, or even.
I shouldn’t become attached to things and shouldn’t
hoard them. I shouldn’t enable addictions,
give unsolicited advice, get over-stressed, consider drugs
or commit suicide. I shouldn’t judge others
or be too hard on myself. I shouldn’t think
negative thoughts, complain, or fail
to appreciate how good I have it. I shouldn’t
wonder if I should ever have been born. 

“What’s Best”
First published in Two Review, 2005
reprinted with permission in Fans of My Unconscious, Black Rock Press, 2013


Krista Lukas writes prose and poetry. Her essays, short stories, and interviews have been published in The Sun, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the author of a poetry collection, Fans of My Unconscious, poems from which have been selected for The Best American Poetry 2006 and The Writer’s Almanac.

 


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