poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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

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.

by this poet

poem

A map on tissue. A mass of wire. Electricity of the highest order.
Somewhere in this live tangle, scientists discovered—

like shipmates on the suddenly-round earth—
a new catalog of synaptic proteins

presenting how memory is laid down:
At the side of the transmitting neuron

poem

I can’t recall where to set the knife and spoon.
I can’t recall which side to place the napkin

or which bread plate belongs to me.  Or
how to engage in benign chatter.

I can’t recall when more than one fork—
which to use first.  Or what to make of this bowl of water.

I can’t see the

poem

after William Carlos Williams’s “Queen-Anne’s-Lace”

Remote purple lays claim to stem,
beside routine stripes of green and brown.
Dark as a patch of shade
in the marsh across the path
that the neighborhood kids and I,
were forbidden to pass. It is
that hue that overtakes

2