Mass-Market Affair

Advertisements fell from my mouth
in place of hello on our first date.

Our charismas and chemistry mixed until
our shared hobbies accrued an interest
maturing into a continuing passion.
Soon the wine bottle’s condensation
revealed discount codes for another.

The logos comprising and forming her skin
subsidies from my same conglomerates,
promising signs for our micro-enterprise
others would relabel and reclassify as love.

That night she held out illuminated palms
pulsing colored barcodes. My smart-eye
scanned them and her company sent me
videos of two teens sharing a single piece
of branded chewing gum and falling in love.

She kissed me, leaving a heat stamp
on my cheek. Fires grew within me
as it absorbed, until I was encircled
in this exquisitely sponsored moment.

Our world does hold love, but no
direct expression of it. Human
interactions replaced by façades
of products. Money no longer talks,
endorsements shout on our behalf.

Our courtship was an endorsement, worthy
of its own commercial, our love languages
becoming brand affiliated. She was a foot-
hold in my brain—couldn’t stop thinking
about her without bankrupting myself.

I proposed to her with a branded brochure
broadcasting our awaiting getaway, how we
would soon merge our brands and hearts.

At our wedding I began reciting my vows
but a promoted Insta poet spoke instead.
My bride smiled, both her curving lips
sponsored by a startup lipstick company.

—Casey Aimer