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Sunday, April 27, 2014


by Darrell Petska

The bodies of a man and woman as they embrace in their last moments from the collapse of a garment factory in Rana Plaza building.
Photo by Taslima Akhter   |   Savar, Bangladesh   |   April 25, 2013
Image source: Raw Journalism

Rana Plaza a year on: did fast-fashion brands learn any lessons at all? Some 1,133 garment workers died yet profits from cheap clothes have soared.
--The Observer, April 20, 2014
A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse.
--The Washington Post, April 18, 2014

If spirits ascending outworn bodies
sing life's value

then what a chorus a thousand raised
though Rana Plaza crumbled
to the indifferent click of dice
and money's soulless shuffle!

One year on, millions of hands
operating millions of sewing machines
in thousands of Rana Plaza lookalikes
make hand-to-rack clothes fast,
cheap, and disposable--apparel
and their makers mere commodities
valued a day then shed
for the next fashionable thing

cherished dreams and personal lives
of laboring souls be damned.
Torn from families and home,
Rana's dead remind us still

life and love abide in our hearts,
not our closets.

Darrell Petska, writing from Madison, Wisconsin, is a freelance editor in adult education who previously worked as a mental health caseworker, nursing home evaluator, and university editor. Past publications include Modern Haiku, Verse Wisconsin, and others.