God Loves An Expiration Date.
By Jason Schneiderman
Best when used
before date stamped on top,
date of my diagnosis,
I was better used before, safer.
But 10 years post-expiration,
you found me on a shelf,
dating someone else.
You deemed me a safe emotional bet:
hypochondria would protect you,
you could never love a disease vector,
sustain such high risk.
But the heart doesn’t work that way,
and we were each other’s bashert,
the Jewish version of Zeus’s scales,
Loving me, you had no choice
but to make good use of my infection.
You took it like a height to be defended,
built walls around it,
turrets, aimed your guns.
I knew you thought love would declaw you,
tenderness soften your edge,
or that you were Eurydice,
when a man looked at you over his shoulder.
But this time it was you who risked looking back,
took the chance you’d be the one
to emerge from love’s underworld alone.