“Break” by Dorianne Laux
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
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.
from Awake, 1990
Copyright 1990 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.
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.