by Ryan Thorpe

The family of three examines
the dining table for four,
calculating out their marriage
prospect.  They are unsure
of the wood’s soft shine,
doubting it will survive past
two winters.  They sit in the
chairs, pantomiming a dinner.
Father serving pancakes,
mother pouring juice, son
slicing everything into little
edible squares.

They like it, but waver between
black and white tablecloths,
cushions of magenta or aqua,
the wife holding up a
porcelain plate like a mirror,
asking her son if he can see


Ryan Thorpe teaches creative writing and literature at the
University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint
Institute.  He is the poetry editor of
The Shanghai Literary
and manages the Shanghai Writing Workshop.  He
writes columns for
The Global Times, has published in
numerous literary journals, and is currently working on a
creative writing textbook.  “IKEA Choices” is part of a series
of poems about daily life in China, and in this poem, a family
is pantomiming a life in the store, trying to figure out how it
will feel in their real lives.  It reflects the odd and sometimes
misplaced devotion that people show to IKEA.  More
information on Thorpe’s work can be found on his

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 13, Number 1
(Spring 2018)

Copyright © 2018
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.