Product Placement: Almost Albino
Because I know her heart, I have peered inside it. I have listened to it nightly,
its plenitudes and aches. I have used it carelessly and sometimes with malice.
I have wanted to vanish it within my lust. I have wanted to crush it and hold it fast
and make it call the winter. And I’ve wanted to disappear at times within her
or our love, which is alien to us both, for it is the unnameable thing we make.
Because I know her desire, I know what she craves the most. By name it is
the Hermes Birkin Bag which, to me, appears to be only a bag, and yet I read
that it is impeccably designed by one artisan alone, the average taking
some 18 hours to complete, from design, to cutting the finest materials,
to assembling the final product, down to the last stitch. Yet there is no average.
The price range begins at $12,000 and, at top, a quarter mil. Some styles boast
a waiting list of six years or more. Ours is somewhere in between. A pre-original,
it was recently an unblemished, farm-raised alligator, fed fish and duck all its life.
Its recessive gene has produced a skin that is almost albino, a sort of pale green
translucence of virginal Earth. Its mother, the one at Disney World what snatched
the bathing child and stashed the body like Moses among the reeds.
What would we sacrifice for such a thing as the Hermes Birkin Bag? What might
we endure to possess it? I have seen people in suits of nails detonate in schoolyards
for their love. I find this so impulsive that it cannot satisfy an ancient god.
How ordinary and cheap to give one’s life, a life that would be taken anyway
by the great collector of our fears, that nothing will remain of us, even love,
even blood and waste. The clear skies and stars offer nothing next
to the fetishized object of affection. Something real. More than idea.
Something for which, should my name come up on their gilded list,
we shall claim as a kind of immortality, though it will ruin us forever,
and force us into the street. We shall have it to show, to fill our cup
and when the world begins to disappear, we shall climb inside and zip it up.
Darren Morris’s other publications include: The American Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, North American Review, The National Poetry Review, Best New Poets, and many others.