by Lynne Zotalis
During the pandemic I’ve done oh, probably a hundred jigsaw puzzles
in an effort to stay sane, to clear my troubled mind.
Outward appearance is a quick study and …
we can learn lessons anywhere, if we’re open. From a puzzle? Why not?
I say I’m a fairly good judge of character, listening, assessing an aura, a vibe,
body language, direct eye contact. Not that I jump to conclusions
but I’ve learned to trust my initial reaction.
At this age I don’t have a lot of time for games or lies or Republicans. And yet
like the puzzle you have to be patient, sensing where something might work,
a certain turn or twist might be fitting. Looking for the subtle alteration of hues,
from grayish blue to hazy pink darkening to purple, lavender and cobalt.
Barely perceptible you might notice a broadening concept
where you could come at it from another angle. But you have to observe
and concentrate to catch the slight nuance.
I am so stuck in my ideology, my convictions
but I know rigidity and confrontation will not promote equanimity.
Who responds to force? I certainly don’t.
You can’t jam those pieces into compliance. Maybe it would fit if turned slightly,
if looked at from another angle or with a brighter light.
You have to keep picking up another and another, a measured response
trying to find the one that gently slides into that larger picture.
None can be discarded and how sad we are at the end to learn that a single one
is irrevocably lost.
Each time I dump the box of a thousand onto the table to begin the process
I have to trust that the separated conglomerate of pieces will come together at the end. And in a better future, the one that I envision and believe for,
I have faith that every shape and color will paint the world with acceptance, respect, inclusion and grace.
We need each and every piece to complete the beautiful landscape.
* * * * *
Lynne Zotalis’s short stories have won publication for three years in the R.H. Cunningham Short Story Contest through Willowdown Books. Her poetry has appeared in Tuck Magazine, writinginawoman’svoice, The Poetic Bond VII, VIII and IX, and Lyrical Iowa. Her grief recovery book, Saying Goodbye to Chuck, promotes an interactive method of incorporating a daily journal to enunciate the readers’ personal grief process, available on Amazon. Her latest book, Hippie at Heart (What I Used to Be, I Still Am) and the rest of her publications are listed on the Amazon author page. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DC6GZ7T