Puzzle People
from Falling Past Love by Tobin James Mueller
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Puzzle People

facing each other like unlucky mirrors,
fragments of infinity reflected between,
you touch me along my broken edges and
i trace my fingers over your jigsaw scars.
piece by piece we are dismantled,
each by the other's attentive hands.

i've no skin left to safeguard me.
it's all been laid among the pile
of puzzle pieces, bits of self
we've placed between our kneeling frames.

you reach inside, inside, and find
the heart, the lung, the deeper part
up past my vocal chords, my cerebrum,
your hands become finger puppets behind my eyes.
this is no metaphor, this gesture.
it is real, this reach. this everything in.

giving, taking a soft curve from the heap,
you place it where my appendix used to be.
i take, give a cutaway from my sternum
and it fits you like a badge.
we place pieces from the pile,
one, two, after the other,
completing this riddle, us,
leaving gaps and seams and happy overlays and
spaces left for entering.

swallow me swallow, in, breathe you breathe, out
you, me by these new formed hips given, taken
we float into pieces above, below, as
this sparking constellation contracts like a womb.
grip my, our mouth, fingers in you, our teeth,
and feel the vibration of the waters we trade,
singing as we drown.

in drying pools we leave behind
more than stains. more than love tattooed.
one easy moment, the everything-we
replacing the puzzle of the world
with something greater than an answer.
and from you, i this miracle we
like loaves and fishes welling:

pieces left over, still on the bed.
too much self to fit back into place.

text © 2004 Tobin James Mueller