“IKEA Bride” by Berni Dwan


I see you in the sarcophagus warehouse carrying shadowed
baggage under each eye. Opulent wedding and honeymoon over;
you wear that ‘what have I done?’ expression; ‘pale and wan’ an
experienced observer would say. You buy cut-price furniture to turn
your overpriced house into a home. Your ‘surprise’ second-trimester bump
is barely visible in your corporate clothes; you came straight from work;
the job you almost killed yourself to get; paid good money to learn the
skills to join a team to play a game you despised instantly. But you wear
your full corporate face every day and speak in full corporate dialect. They’ve
got you and will keep you for your vibrant years. You will land
pell-mell into your fifties and wonder – what happened? They will even
freeze your eggs so you can do the baby business when you’re spent. But
let’s be honest; you weren’t up for the homemaker job either; you are not for

spending your days at playgrounds and school gates; parks and libraries. You
don’t know what you want; or, you won’t say for fear of being called selfish.
Your ‘girlfriends’ are so sure of what they are doing, so happy with their
decisions; so right, so mature. They drop the fantastic and fabulous F words like
Stepford Wives. Their homes are location sets from Hollywood; their family photos
ready proofed for Hello magazine; their husbands are very busy, and they are eternally grateful for the lovely life they stage-manage. You nod, let a few shrill laughs escape,
say ‘of course I am excited about the baby.’ You give yourself a pep talk on the way
home. ‘Come on now; it’s not so bad; I need to grow up and do grown-up things.’ And
so, you lag behind as he pushes the giant trolley like a Hebrew Slave, laden

with flat packs of Scandinavian wood; jigsaws for newlyweds. You will piece them
together in your Irish brick home in a suburb that’s too far from anywhere. A
Chinese takeaway and some craft beer will sweeten the task, and maybe a movie on
Netflix in the background. You’re a right pair; wrung out; already

eyeing up your reserves; figuring how to eke them out. Everyone approves of you except
yourselves. From here on in it’s all about putting on the brave face and flaunting the F words as you travel towards your golden years.




Berni’s poems have been published in many journals. In 2017, she earned the second prize in the Johnathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. She produces and presents a radio show – The A to Z of Historical Blunders. Her first collection – ‘Frankly, Baby’ – has just been published by Lapwing Press.  Find her at oldfilibuster.com.

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