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
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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.