“Letter from Home about a Friend’s Business with Sofas” by Atar J. Hadari

Atar J. Hadari


Your friend is very much enjoying 
the business of the sofas,
says he’s feeling quite content and wishes now 
he’d started earlier,
doesn’t long to be a mercenary
tracking through the jungle
looking for the main artery
traveled by the rebel column—
he gets up at seven thirty,
washes, buys his eggs
and bacon at the local cafe,
reads his newspaper, debates
European policy with builder’s mates who grate
bits of bread across their plate
like sandpaper to get up all the grease.
In the shop by nine-fifteen, 
he unlocks the locked crate,
lifts the noisy polythene
and stamps on the air freight,
lifts the sofa from its precious
nesting foil, an egg,
and props the jungle velour pattern
on the batik matting platform 
with the matching louver bays.
Lunch break. Watches telly;
seventeen-all for darts.
Quick one at the local boozer
—mustn’t smell pissed for the shop;
back out at the customer desk,
three to three-fifteen,
only two hours, watches traffic
slow outside the window to the old classic new routine:
first, the shuffle of the schoolboy
loitering home tugging up his pants;
next the swagger of the aimless
lout with pennies to spare
and no job weighing down his hands;
next, the nanny—back from playschool,
bringing home the bairns,
then the man, cap down forehead,
stumbling to the pub for tea-time trembler, “Haddock’s end.”
Darkness. And the raindrops
hit the pane like small jets
crashing on a still, white tarmac
in the midst of the unexplored, roaring veld.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020
Tribute to Service Workers


Atar J. Hadari: “My first job where I was left in charge of anything was a pizza counter, which lasted over a year, though this poem is about my best friend’s business selling sofas direct to the public.”

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