One day I discovered I could
reliably finish the Sunday puzzle
all on my own. We used to do them
together as a family,
Mom, Dad, even my little brother,
some would put wrong answers in,
the others would have to erase
(chagrin—it was me sometimes).
We needed each other. There’s
something lost, to go it alone—
maybe a little smug, self-satisfaction
gained. I remember when I was
young and didn’t know the puzzle
was done for your own internal glee—
that feel when the letters are all
in their place—I asked: what do we win?
I get it now. I also thought
to know enough to write the right
words—but you only know how
to do the puzzles—it gives you nothing
else, but what else
do we need? I find I write
the answers in different hands
as if my entire family were writing
through me. There is my father,
my mother, my younger self.
We’re all in this together,
I even have
your help.