Mudlark No. 39 (2010)

Plastic #7 (Other: Polytetrafluoroethylene)

     Is “I” even me or am “I” a gearshift to get from one
     sentence to the next? Should I say we?  
                                                               — Claudia Rankine

I put a hex on myself 
just before I enriched our kitchen 
with space-age polymers.

I was investigating freezers
when one hundred pounds of TFE gas
decided to spontaneously polymerize.

I was four of a mind, 
trapped and frozen, shoulder to shoulder 
inside of steel cylinders.

I rested on a bed of dry ice 
braced myself for the rupture
of impending disaster.


I was disappointing and waxy — 
a white solid soon to be revealed 
as the world’s slipperiest material.

I didn’t worry
until I was told I would have to give up
my metal spatula for wooden and plastic.

At that moment, I began
to obsessively watch the soft surface
of cross-hatched frying pans
for any indication 
of flaking residue.


It’s the Cold War
I shield my eyes with frying pans
I solve my problems with separation
and correct the market slump
by counting down from 2% to skim.

I shoot television spots as the president 
sporting a milk mustache 
meant to mollify worry 
about accumulations of strontium-90 
in our children’s milk supply,
Soviet tests over the Pacific
and the indictment of milk fat 
as an agent of heart disease.


Nuclear physicists at Oak Ridge
struggling with the corrosive properties
of enriched uranium hexaflouride gas
were the first handymen
to plumb their pipes with Teflon tape.

Little Boy and Fatman made non-stick pans.
Two hundred and fifty thousand 
lost in a pair of bright white flashes 
meant to make sure 
we wouldn’t have to scrub so hard.

I tell myself: 
duplicity doesn’t always imply complicity. 

Drew Dillhunt | Mudlark No. 39 (2010)
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