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How a piece of us goes missing



A cabinet of puzzle boxes, a jumble of uncountable pieces

one set strewn over the coffee table, poured chaos,

first task to right them all, each piece

laid against others of similar hues, sort, begin

to sense the whole slit into pieces, so I might

order the disarray into understanding.


Each piece, a month, a fragment, making a whole

or a just a hint of image once holding childhood

maybe only a suggestion of a lover under covers,

sorted into colors, sad grey, excited red, vivacious green,

I begin the work of fitting each piece into its space

making sense of complexity broken into pieces.


Stooped over the table, I search for the right shape

to fix pickets on a porch, a sideways piece of white,

remembering the day you stood against white slats

of porch railing, nervous, explaining away your choice

and its fallout, as you pulled your dark brown piece

of you out of the puzzle of my life.


And now your missing piece leaves a barely seen hole,

the porch portion will live unfinished, forcing me

to move on to another place, to take up a new search

for pieces in the mystery of the whole, there is nothing

left to be done, this puzzle will remain unfinished

I scan, not remembering how your piece fit into the whole.


© Sharon Lopez Mooney, “How a piece of us goes mission”, originally published in El Portal Literary Magazine, ed. Audra Bagwell, New Mexico, 2023

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