One piece missing. A poem by Anne McDonald

She built a bird feeder, I made a jigsaw
and over weeks and days we found our ways
to be together, a trial run at empty nest syndrome.
It’s gone pretty well so far,
except for one or two minor details;
the cat eyeballs the pigeons
when they attempt to feed,
and my jigsaw has one piece missing.

What are the chances that the Christmas present
that lived for months under the couch
and on the floor, and was short listed
at one stage by the front door for the SVP
would have a piece gone A.W.O.L.?
One in a thousand actually.

The bird-feeder is full of nuts and seeds.
The pigeons make it to the path outside the window,
one small step is all it takes to make the balcony,
one small piece is all it takes to make the jigsaw.
A piece I fear long since consumed by the settee
or the hoover or the same cat
who dares the pigeons to take a chance.

This might be our last dance
before the world returns to being busy
and important and time is measured
again by productivity, not pleasure.
When the world and we look back
at how we spent our hours and days,
and try to count the ways we used
to make something of the lockdown,
I will smile at black and white and brown.

Pieces of a puzzle made without hurry
or a flurry of activity.
I hope that I would not forget
how precious was the time we spent.
In future days when reminiscing,
I will remember the nine hundred
and ninety nine pieces that were there,
not the one piece missing.


Anne McDonald is a spoken poet with work published in Ireland and the UK and broadcast on RTE Radio. She has an M.Phil in Creative Writing. Her first collection of poetry “Crow’s Books” is due for publication in September 2020. She is shortlisted for Strokestown International Poetry Competition 2020. More info here.

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