The Woman Who Put Herself Back Together, Lois Marie Harrod

Every morning the same difficulties, first
to find a surface flat enough to work, then

to dump the pieces and face them up. She
began with the corners as she had been taught,

but today, where was the fourth? She’d have
to dig in her purse again. She went on

to the edges but gaps appeared between
the eyebrow and roof of that little white

cottage with its immaculate curtains, the row
of spruce seemed to have mysteriously

thinned, and the center pieces which had once
been crisp and firm had become cardboard

her dog had chewed. Some friends said she was
going about the puzzle all wrong, she should

sort what’s left into tabs and blanks, see what
fit where, but this morning she couldn’t tell

the innies from the outies. Even her belly
button seemed cryptic. Others advised using

colors to discern the forehead from a firmament,
but she found it increasingly

difficult to filter her hair from the gray fog
that stretched over the valley. The once

smooth swaths of lawn ploughed and furrowed
in unexpected ways, and when she turned

to the picture that had been on the front
of the box, it too looked gnawed and worried.

Her rich friends said she should have had
that first face lift ages ago, and the eco-friends

said that was cheating. You had to play
with the nature you were dealt. It seemed

that there were some sink holes that could
no longer be filled, the pieces had been lost

probably now in China. She thought of her
friend Irene who also appeared to be

having trouble lining up the eyeliner.
The mascara shunted from eyelid to chin.




Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th and most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks. Her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016, and Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching, was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online poems and short stories at

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