On the 7th day of #lockdown
a generous neighbour posted a sign:
“Jigsaw Puzzles. Help Yourself”.
I was of three minds:
Would they be infected?
Would all the pieces be there?
Why not also?
Our Chicago street was empty and cold.
The puzzle I chose was a summer montage.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a jigsaw puzzle
I do not know which to prefer,
The joy of giving (when jigsaw puzzles are so scarce)
Or the joy of receiving (when jigsaw puzzles are so pleasant)
The act of puzzling
Or just after.
A line divides the wide brain
Into right and left sides.
Doing a jigsaw
Allows crossing it, to and fro.
A mental work-out
Traced in the puzzling:
Problems become easier.
O small men of yesterday,
Why do you imagine calamities?
Do you not see how a jigsaw
Hovers round the feet
Of the women you rely on?
I know noble puzzles
And lucid, inescapable patterns;
But I know, too,
That the jigsaw is involved
In what I know.
While working puzzles, eye contact ceases;
Children tell parents stories
Of inner lives and buried traumas.
In the morning
Puzzle pieces click sweetly into place
Which at night resisted
All efforts to contain.
We walk through Chicago
Measuring in 6 foot increments.
Our fears pierce us,
In that we mistake
For puzzles too.
The clouds are moving.
The puzzle is nearly completed.
It is evening all afternoon
No one day can be distinguished from another.
Our neighbours share what they have.
Our puzzles are our lives.
We turn each piece until – CLICK – it fits
And realize, amazed, that every single piece
is there in the box.