Do our desks have sun for potted flowers?
Let’s omit blues this time and put cheerful
fragrant colors amid the greens and browns.
Do offices catch fire like factories
do? asks Rajina, teen in Bangladesh,
a flower left standing in the rubble.
We think: The New York City Twin Towers
and Oklahoma City Federal
Building, supremacists and terrorists.
But in Bangladesh the threat is working
conditions, not aimed or random terror,
the threat is starvation, desperation.
Post Nine-Eleven, we ran schematics
tested strength, built homeland security,
designed a memorial space to see.
Rajina’s factory was improved, but
she disappeared—cut and displaced to live—
she fell into unregulated space.
Potted plants, we insist. Cut flowers die
too soon. And we think: Weekly flowers cost
more than Rajina earns in two for food.
Rajina dreams of writing and working
in an office someday. We dream of her
wondering where she has gone, how she grows.
Written for Day 29 in the April challenge, using the prompt at NaPoWriMo for My inspiration is an article by in The Washington Post, "A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse" (4/18/2014). The photo, documented above, accompanies an article in The Guardian by "Will transparency in the fashion industry ever become a reality?" (7/15/2013) I intend no violation of copyright. If there is a concern, please email me
Copyright © 2014 S.L.Chast