infinite anthology: day 206

“Giraffes”

After skimming the Sunday Times, Dad turned to the back of the magazine

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 adored

jigsaw pieces. Five-hundred. A zoo, I think. Giraffes, absolutely.

— Kimiko Hahn

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