Client Audubon Jigsaw Puzzle, American Robin, Buffalo Games
Categories Poems in the Time of Pandemic, Poetry
Location New Brighton, Minnesota
Date April 11, 2020

James C. Henderson

I fall asleep on the couch—there’s nothing else to do—
and when I wake up
I see that you’ve made a yellow layer cake.

I see, too, that you have started a jigsaw puzzle
on the dining room table.
It’s a picture of a robin with rust-colored breast
puffed out, proud, and independent.

I also see you’ve dumped out a separate puzzle for me
because you hate it that I find so many pieces, so fast.
This is not the way to do a jigsaw puzzle, you say
framing the border, assembling the red farmhouse
amassing a jagged cloud of white
floating in the missing sky
or setting a three-masted schooner sailing
across a woodgrain sea
before the other person has a chance
to put more than two pieces together.

So, tonight, you have given me my own puzzle—
a nondescript scene of a meadow in an alpine valley
carpeted with common purple wildflowers, all singing:
Lord, we don’t need another meadow

I know I have not been very attentive lately
that I have been putting my energies elsewhere
that I have been showing off instead of showing up
so, I will be following you to bed shortly
but, first, let me connect—because it’s sooo easy—
the robin’s yellow beak to his white throat
and his throat to his black cheek
until his entire head is fully formed
and his golden eye
is staring at you and only you.