“I Hate Ikea” by Leticia Priebe Rocha

Leticia Priebe Rocha


Maybe because my mom and I always fight
over the indecipherable instructions and missing screws, the
hammers meeting fingers that give way to fuck-shit-fuck

Maybe it’s the fact that IKEA uses 1% of the world’s lumber,
exploits laborers in the global south, was founded by a Nazi,
and the sheer impossibility of living ethically—living at all—under
capitalist imperialism threatens to drown me every second.

Maybe it’s the memory of our first big furniture shopping trip,
or, more accurately, its disruption. We could finally afford
a couch, dressers, and bed frames after two years in this country,
the four of us happily stuffed inside our paint-chipped

2000 Toyota Camry, windows down in the sweltering Miami
heat because the AC never worked. The clashing yellow and blue
logo had just come into sight when the sound I heard in my
nightmares blasted behind us, the sickening woop-woop

of a police car. See, at the age of 10 I had memorized the date
my father’s license would expire, the seconds ticking down
to when the unspeakable would be possible. It was 4 months past
that date, and as an 11-year-old I faced my father’s imminent

deportation in the now-infinite distance between us and the IKEA
parking lot one stoplight ahead. Hiccupping sobs erupted in my chest,
eliciting panicked wails from my then-baby sister. My mother turned
to hold our hands, her own tears spilling over as she fearfully eyed

the two officers advancing with relish, slowly closing in
on their latest prey. My father remained stony-faced, lowered the front
windows and his head. License and registration please, said the one
next to my dad’s window. The other on my mother’s side frowned

into the spectacle of tears, barking out:
Why are you all crying?
Stop. Why are you crying?
Why do you keep crying?

Maybe it’s because we couldn’t
find the right colored dressers and
our couch was delivered 2 weeks later
with a gaping hole on the side.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Leticia Priebe Rocha: “My affinity with writing emerged as poetry became the only way I could truly untangle my experience as a highly politicized being in this country and move towards understanding the world. My greatest hope is that my work can help others fulfill the same impulse.” (web)

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