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Break

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.

—Dorianne Laux

from Awake, 2001
University of Arkansas Press

Copyright 2001 by Dorianne Laux.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Boa Editions from Awake, 1990. Copyright 1990 by Dorianne Laux. For further permissions information, contact Boa Editions, Ltd., 260 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Dorianne Laux (1952- ) is the author of five poetry collections, including The Book of Men (W. W. Norton, 2012). She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been a Pushcart Prize winner.

Learn more about Dorianne Laux at The Poetry Foundation.