Arielle Greenberg


I awake with this question on my tongue:

where’s the jigsaw puzzle of the cow and her stillborn calf?

Where is it?


And whose voice is that talking around our morning house this dawn—

a lady’s, a seagull’s, or that of our gone baby son?


And what was that incantation my husband uttered in the night—

ah, he sighed, neeko, neeko, again and again?


The two of us roll close to our daughter under the low eaves over our family bed,

suddenly incomplete where we were whole,

suddenly scarred, a tree trunk marked by lightning.

We go into the day carrying our loss around in invisible buckets.


Alone when I rise, my body smells of the iron in blood.

My dead child, when he came, smelled of the life of blood, and thankfully not of death at all.

Everything of the alone in me is blood,

and when I move I am the iron in blood.


Other, missing pieces lie in cut shapes on my tongue.

That ready, that hidden.



“Jigsaw” first appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, 36.2.