The Maynard
Spring 2015

Ruth Daniell

Love and IKEA II

Those days you left work early
and newness clothed us like light—the candles
from the wedding dinner un-extinguished, gold
above our plain cotton sheets. But ordinariness comes
so quickly: some usual illness saps me,
the long hours at the office pull the light
even out of your short blond hair, the eyebrows
I always tell you made me love you.
Deadlines push against the windows
of the apartment. I ask you what we should name
the spider who lives in the bathroom—Lady Leroy,
Rosalie, Leanne? Her small body has a sheen
mine doesn’t anymore. Life camps out, hungry. We thought we knew
enough about the improbabilities of happy endings
to make our own. We were not naïve, we were
prepared and hopeful and then last night
someone mentioned someone else’s extra
ten pounds, someone else mentioned the dust
at the corners of the warped laminate flooring,
the dishes, the ants marching in from the ungardened
garden, the chair that needs mending, the unfolded
clothes. Everything seemed so terrible I couldn’t stop crying
and then you punched the coffee table,
the stupid birch-effect veneer thing
that matches the bookshelves. It’s solid, this knowledge
that we won’t ever be enough against the world’s
petty colds, long winters, unsolvable loneliness,
but IKEA furniture is barely real. I stood stunned
at the fist-shaped dent in the tabletop, flecks of burgundy
in the pressboard’s jagged cracks. You hadn’t really
hurt yourself, I knew, and when I arrive home tonight
the argument is gone: the new coffee table
looks identical to the old one. It only cost $40
to replace it, you explain: I’m sorry.
I didn’t want to live with it.
You just want me to stop
crying. You want newness to glint against us
like old light. I want these things too.