An Unassembled Table and 42,538 Pieces of Hardware

Today I watched my almost 20-year-old kitchen table leave my home

It was old, stained, chipping, covered underneath with layers of Disney stickers

Evidence of its long and beloved history, weaved into fibers of oak.

Now it has left to continue its life with one branch of a broken family

To build more history, create new memories beneath a different roof.

I am sitting on the floor of the empty dining room, noise echoing

Around me are strewn parts of a new, unassembled kitchen table

And about 42,538 pieces of hardware carefully separated into piles.

I have never put together a table before, having never needed to learn

But these are unprecedented times – this table will not build itself.

I am squinting at an encyclopedic manual full of pictures and no words

Learning on the fly how to use a screwdriver 101, how to hammer nails,

How to assemble a table to replace the one I thought would always be here.

There is grieving in this process, but it is oddly comforting to cry while building

Viewing this hardware, these wooden boards, the way I view my heart:

Scattered in a thousand pieces but capable of reassembling.

How do you rebuild a life after so much loss?

Well, you sit on the floor of your empty dining room, weeping,

And one-by-one, you piece together the wayward, broken parts

Learning as you go the basic rules and steps for regeneration

Making far more mistakes than progress at first,

Putting together the whole entire thing only to discover you forgot several pieces

And you must tear it all down again, painfully, to be built up even stronger

Until it is, miraculously, through your determined effort,

Assembled into something sturdy, stable, just waiting for new memories.

Published by Quietest Poet

Writer, mother, counselor, flower gardener, recipe seeker, and Netflix lover.

3 thoughts on “An Unassembled Table and 42,538 Pieces of Hardware

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