Poet and writer Hannah Stephenson saw the drawings above and wrote a poem:
How to Read Instructions
Match the pieces to their images.
Count them, the fittings and the tools
with which to fit them.
Match the number of parts
to the number of parts listed on the page.
Lay out all the materials,
reserving a you-shaped spot amongst them.
These directions are in
another language. Search
for your mother tongue in the instructions.
Look for any image
to dangle from, a caption
or a warning of a product's dangers.
Assembly can be hazardous.
Take up any two metal fragments,
press them into one another.
Fasten that onto one of the rough-edged
boards. Lose the Allen wrench
in the plush of the carpet, but fear
not, there are six Allen wrenches,
seven if you count the one lolling
in the bottom of the box like a penny
in a parking meter.
When there are no more parts to join
or misplace, look at the picture
on the front of the box
and ask yourself, what in the world
have you made?