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About this Poem 

"'Giraffes' is from a new collection that continues my fascination with science—in this case, neuroscience. While reading about puzzles in Benedict Carey's 'Tracing the Spark of Creative Problem-Solving,' I came upon words and images that triggered a personal response. This often occurs when words have multiple meanings, like 'cross.'"
—Kimiko Hahn

Giraffes

Kimiko Hahn, 1955

After skimming the Sunday Times, Dad turned to the back of the magazine
and tore out the crossword puzzle for his mother in Wisconsin—

as routine as my calligraphy class on Saturdays, flute practice
exactly twenty minutes on school nights

and astringent twice daily. I loved the idea of puzzles
but never tried my hand as problem-solving rubbed up against rivalry—

red velvet cake, red velvet dress, trilling—

because nothing was never enough and yet
more than a small rectangular lawn and the pulsing marsh beyond.

A puzzle might've been escape enough. A maze—instead of crossword?

No, cross words were our puzzles, after all. Although my sister and I adored
jigsaw pieces. Five-hundred. A zoo, I think. Giraffes, absolutely.

Copyright © 2013 by Kimiko Hahn. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Kimiko Hahn. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Kimiko Hahn

Kimiko Hahn

Kimiko Hahn was born in 1955 in Mt. Kisco, New York, the

by this poet

poem
Curious to see caverns,
we detoured in Tennessee
to ramble through Fat Man's Misery,
past a ballroom and gun powder machine
till we reached The World's Second Largest Underground Lake—
on which my husband had promised a ride
in a glass-bottom boat.

There, a kid hunched over a hot-rod magazine.
Dan, I think his