After skimming the Sunday Times, Dad turned to the back of the
and tore out the crossword puzzle for his mother in Wisconsin--
as routine as my calligraphy class on Saturdays, flute practice exactly twenty minutes on school nights
and astringent twice daily. I loved the idea of puzzles
but never tried my hand as problem-solving rubbed up against rivalry--
red velvet cake, red velvet dress, trilling--
because nothing was never enough and yet
more than a small rectangular lawn and the pulsing marsh beyond.
A puzzle might've been escape enough. A maze--instead of crossword?
No, cross words were our puzzles, after all. Although my sister and I
jigsaw pieces. Five-hundred. A zoo, I think. Giraffes, absolutely.