“The Missing Piece” by Lisa Flanagan

A river runs on a muddy note
and I bring along my husband’s fisherman‘s hat
along
with black grapes I had for lunch.
They grumble and are not confident about this journey as I am.
All is well now.

My sister, Bea, answers her phone and cries deeply.
The autopsy is in.
She remembers our heads snuggling in
laughing over misplaced puzzle pieces over ruby red glasses of wine
and salt and vinegar potato chips.
We could never find the piece that showed the blue sky.
With Bea, her complexion was of a creamy white buttermilk hue
and icy blue eyes.
Her waif-like structure was prominent amongst the men.

I was so they said the smart one
hands numb from a thyroid condition
The stutterer who liked to collect stamps.

But the river runs between my toes
warm like chocolate syrup
I think this is what it must feel like to be a mother
delightfully sweet, hard and terrifying

I take my husband’s fisherman’s hat and place it on my head
even now I don’t want the sunlight to catch my hair dye
and turn it a stringy yellow
That is the gift I can share
the gift of hair, my legacy
Wavy, full, and sleek
not too hot, not too cold
says the Mamma bear
of a canine
I worry about Jake
how he will be without me
But, just maybe he’ll find the sky blue puzzle piece and
Drooly, drop it to my husband’s feet.




Lisa Flanagan lives with her husband, Lee, and their magical canine, Sam.  Her poems have been published in various New Jersey newspapers on the 9/11 and Sandy Hook tragedies.  If her poems are able to connect with someone in some way, then she has succeeded.