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by | Jul 13, 2021



Dump puzzle pieces across the table—

a study in expectations. Turn each piece face up;

study the shapes, colors. Find the corners

and begin. Begin somewhere. Begin.


The picture on the box: a neighborhood with cars,

tangles of blackberries, a run-over dog,

a hearse in a driveway up the street,

a child with a baby on his back and an old woman

sitting by her window, at a table.


Over her house hot-air balloons

fill the sky, hang above her;

for all she knows they could be

bombs. But not today. No clouds, no

shadows, just bright balloons. She isn’t thinking of the sky;

she’s putting a puzzle together. So many pieces.

Does she even have them all?


Acknowledgement: Cortland Review





Nora Hutton Shepard

Nora Hutton Shepard is a poet and alumna of N.C. State’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program, as well a graduate of the MFA Writer’s Program at Warren Wilson College. She taught poetry courses at N.C. State before relocating to Davidson in 2019 to be closer to her daughter’s family. Nora has quickly acclimated to life in Davidson and is a wonderful addition to our Community.

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