Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzle

There’s no box
Well, there’s a box in my head
And I study it there
How it’s supposed to look finished
Right down to the foxed edges of a well-read first edition

But I have the pieces out on the table
And found the corners, and all the bits of edge
And set out the frame
And the colors are vivid in places, so I’ve written those chapters
But there are acres where the pieces do not fit, have not fit
And the color is wry and deceptive

It’s less easy when you must craft each piece yourself
When the color is clear but does not match the pieces around it
When the shape, the hook, the duck’s head could go here – or there
It’s a puzzle

And perhaps this piece, this ambition of pieces,
This lingering glen, this wormwood
Would look better there (and the box is no guide)
Or belongs there – or how could I be so blind?
It’s a puzzle

And the whole elegantly pieced section over there turns out
To belong to some other picture
Or has already been done better before
Or there are two, just as good, and they must be collated,
And you must learn to discard what you’ve already done
It’s a puzzle

It’s less easy when you must mold each piece yourself
Tear the flesh of the story out of your body
Mold according to cells extracted from the skull without anesthetic
Ignored the blood and guts streaming and starting to smell
To create life, new life, your own story
It’s a puzzle

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