The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

Step 1: Lay all the pieces out on the floor.

Wear your heart on your sleeve.

Make sure the painted laminate is facing down, so as not to scratch it.

You know when I said “wear your heart on
your sleeve?” I’m not sure I meant it. It’s complicated.
Flirt a little, but do not tell him how you feel.
A woman is mystery. A woman is modest. A woman is sweet.
A woman is, a woman is, a woman is.

Step 2: Count all your screws and pegs. Do you have the right amount? If you’re missing anything, call the help hotline.

We cannot replace lost sanity, wasted years, or those DVDs
you leave at the apartment when things fall apart and you have to move out.
At least you took his Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring extended edition.
Now you have the complete extended edition trilogy.

Step 3: Connect the two wall XXs with back X and front Y using one of the provided pegs.

If it does not fit, push harder.
Not everybody finds the one. Not everybody gets a perfect fit.
Make it work. It might hurt a little.
The cheap wood might splinter your fingers,
leaving tiny dots of red on the pale surface.

Step 4: You now have a drawer. Repeat process until you have 8.

Use this drawer for your socks. Use this drawer for your underwear.
Use this drawer for his socks —
he has too many white ones and never wears them.
Use this drawer for his underwear:
the stretched out ones he needs to throw away
and the ones with dogs in Santa hats you bought him for Christmas.
It bothers you when he wears them in the wrong season.
Wash them and fold them for two and a half years.

Step 5: Make an L-shape with Pieces A and B, then C and D. Then connect them. This is the dresser body.

That night when you really accept that it’s over
your body slumps against this dresser’s body —
you wish it was a warm body, but it is cold and stiff.
You feel hollow and heavy at the same time,
and stupid for not listening to your mother when she said
“your 20s are a time for dating around.”
But she didn’t say dating,
she said something more vulgar and un-mom-like.
Something that seems like something she did, but not you.
You watched too many Disney Princess movies.

Step 6: Insert the peg at the edge of walls A, B, C and D with the slots in back piece F.

There is no piece F. I’m confused. I’m F-ing confused. I’m F-ed.
How many F jokes can I make before they stop being funny?

Step 7: Insert the drawers into the dresser body. The dresser is now complete.

The night before you leave, you sleep together on the floor
in the spot the bed used to be.
It’s already been loaded into the moving truck.
Before bed, you take a shower.
His soapy hands feel like silk against your wet skin as he washes you.
You think “Oh, what a beautiful metaphor.
We are washing each other clean. We are moving on.”
But it is just a shower, a last excuse to cop a feel,
to feel warm, to feel anything.
You are not washed clean and that bed
and this dresser look strange in your new place.
Your dog sniffs them,
as if she is trying to find her old home hidden
in the dust clumps beneath the furniture.

Enjoy your new dresser! We hope it will have a place in your home for many years to come.

Homes change.
Now you fill all the drawers with your underwear.
Put all your Christmas-themed pairs in one drawer,
so that you will never wear them out of season.
You thought the bed would feel lonely without him,
but your fingers and toes explore their way
across the cool, clean expanse of sheets
like pioneers.
It’s better this way.
Isn’t it?