PUTTING TOGETHER IKEA FURNITURE
Who had to die to get to this moment?
Your ass planted on the ground
of the back patio,
putting together this cheap table
and chairs from Ikea.
Think of the wars that had to be fought,
the overthrowing of kings and kingdoms.
The loggers who cut the wood
in the forests of Romania,
and Lithuania and Latvia,
and in Lowndes, Alabama.
Or the young environmentalist
tweeting from her wooden table
about the dangers of deforestation.
Think of the men and women sweating in factories
in China and Vietnam and Malaysia and Myanmar,
in Poland and North America.
The workers who built the skyscrapers,
harnessed on platforms 100 stories high,
feet dangling over cities,
so you can try to decipher these directions
drawn up by some Swedish surrealist
in a corporate high rise,
eating meatballs at his desk.
The welders who melted steel
and shaped it and reshaped it
the cranes that lifted those containers off ships,
the longshoreman who unloaded the cargo
at the port of Los Angeles,
miles from where you live.
Think of the men in yellow hardhats
driving bulldozers over dirt,
laying gravel and asphalt,
tar on their shoes
and under their fingernails
and in their lungs and noses.
The roads and freeways and overpasses,
the bridges so trucks from the port
can deliver this furniture
to the warehouse,
where other trucks will deliver
it to your front door.
Here, in this house that you rent,
think of the carpenters,
the cement mixed for the foundation,
the original plumbers and electricians
older than your dead grandparents,
where tonight you and Diliana
will eat dinner in the backyard,
the food she’s assembled
on this table you’ve assembled,
an open bottle of wine
under a gorgeous June sky,
think of the sacrifice it took
to make this moment happen,
the tightening of things,
the plugging things in,
the hammering things down
to hold it all together.
—from Rattle #81, Fall 2023
Clint Margrave: “I write poetry because I’m not good at fixing anything.” (web)