From the Archive: Louisa Howerow (CAROUSEL 29)

Staff/ October 21, 2020/ Poem


Jigsaw Puzzle

The kitchen smells of cabbage and quiet.
On the table a jigsaw puzzle,
the Basilica di San Marco
whose four hundred pieces my mother sorts
into straight edges, corners, colours,
greys, blues, blue-greens.

I tell her I’ve seen the holy relics,
bones of saints, a vial with the blood of Christ

“I should have saved mine,” she says
referring to her left kidney, the cancerous one
she’s convinced is living healthy
in somebody else’s body.

I imagine her bringing the bean-shaped organ home,
its dark-red bulge against the weathered yellow of her palm,
her forefinger probing the renal pelvis. I imagine her
inserting aromatic cloves, pickling it in a Mason jar.

“I’ll never feel whole again.”
The words are as much for her as for me.
She works on the puzzle’s frame: bones fitting
bones. This can be read as a holding place.

The wind pelts snowflakes against the darkened window.
Snow weighs down the roof.

The Grand Canal begins to flow along the puzzle’s edge.
The house tabby abhors water, climbs into her lap.

Louisa Howerow’s fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry have been published in Canada, England and the United States. Her work has been anthologized in I Found it at the Movies (Guernica Editions), Imaginarium 3 and 4 (ChiZine Publications), Gush: Menstrual Manifestos for our Times (Frontenac Press) and Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press) and have appeared in print and online journals such as The Antigonish Review, Aesthetica, Pedestal Magazine, Quills, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Room, The New Quarterly and Queen’s Quarterly.

Jigsaw Puzzle
appeared in CAROUSEL 29 (2012) — buy it here

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