by Dorianne Laux

We put the puzzle together piece
by piece, loving how one curved
notch fits so sweetly with another.
A yellow smudge becomes
the brush of a broom, and two blue arms
fill in the last of the sky.
We patch together porch swings and autumn
trees, matching gold to gold. We hold
the eyes of deer in our palms, a pair
of brown shoes. We do this as the child
circles her room, impatient
with her blossoming, tired
of the neat house, the made bed,
the good food. We let her brood
as we shuffle through the pieces,
setting each one into place with a satisfied
tap, our backs turned for a few hours
to a world that is crumbling, a sky
that is falling, the pieces
we are required to return to.

Reprinted with permission from Awake.

Dorianne Laux is the author of two collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Awake (1990) and What We Carry (1994) which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997) which has been chosen as an alternative selection by Book of the Month Club, Quality Paperbacks and Writer's Digest. Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize for poetry and a fellowship from The National Endowment for the Arts. Recent poems have appeared in The Harvard Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Washington Post and DoubleTake. Her poem, "The Shipfitter's Wife" was chosen by Robert Bly for inclusion in The Best American Poetry 1999. Her poetry can also be heard on National Public Radio's "The Writer's Almanac," hosted by Garrison Keillor. Her third book, Smoke, is scheduled for publication in October of 2000 by BOA Editions. Laux is an Associate Professor and works at the University of Oregon's Program in Creative Writing.


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