Naming the contents is good for a start,

Although by now we know them all by heart,


Crossbars, and glue, imperceptible dowels,

Consonants missing their coupling vowels,


Lacking most of that tangible linking

To what the inventor was possibly thinking


Before the translators worked their own magic

And turned the imagery visibly tragic,


Leaving only the box's photographed clue

As to what its contents might possibly do:


What appears, for instance, in the text as a splice

Is a reality something less nice,


Which, from its hiding place evilly grins

As its coup d'état of illiterate sins;


Lowly and foul, it's ascended the heights

And holds our trembling lives in its sights,


Endowing the drawing’s seeming frivolities

With disturbing close to humanoid qualities,


Not to mention the omnipresent pair

Of screws which dependably never are there,


A hypothetical comment on whether

Mechanical attachments can bring us together -


Like the mangled instructions' glowing shot

Of the version no one has ever in history got,


Meaning, perhaps, that a brace or a joint

Isn't the factory's ultimate point,


But the eschatological meaning increases

If the object tomorrow is lying in pieces -


Read the manual: togetherness counts,

Not life reduced to its naked amounts:


No resolutions ever can come

From itemized pairs to a total sum:


Dowels and crossbars on the floor,

Reunited, mean much more


Than our stumbling efforts to discover

Teleological symbols like the cover,


A graven icon of numbered parts

Torn to pieces in our hearts,


Whose heaven, made from a voiceless things,

Is a world (when finished with us) which sings.


Rue de Varenne, July 21st, 2001

Lanikai, October 21st, 2008; December 9th, 2010