just ran across this bit of writing i did back in chicago (2004? i was living at the ice factory at the time) and realized that i just the other day threw out this puzzle piece cuz i couldnt remember why i was keeping it.
glad i still have the metaphor...
Walking along Ashland from the green line stop home one windy gray day, looking down I find a single jigsaw puzzle piece lying on the ground. No 500 piece box anywhere, no mates, nothing but this one that looks a bit trampled, with an indistinguishable bit of image in green on it. I step past it, trying to figure out how it got there and what I think about it, then stop and decide to go back and put it in my pocket. The metaphoric brilliance of a lonely, lost puzzle piece hanging around feels too good to pass up.
I turn to retrace my steps and retrieve my treasure when, my eyes following the line of where the building met the sidewalk, I come upon another sight to stop me in my tracks. A small, sparrow-sized gray bird is lying dead on the pavement right next to the wall. No marks of violence upon it, no blood, no ants or signs of decay. It's been a very recent death, very sudden and silent. I stand staring for a good bit, taking in the loss of life and grieving it, pondering how it could have come about. My eyes raise to scan the top of the building to see if it had fallen off the edge, knowing it was too much an adult and skilled at flying for such a mistake. As my gaze ascends it comes upon the first floor window. There, a fist-sized hole in the outer pane spider-webs most of the top portion of the glass, distorting the reflection of the gray, cloud soaked sky. The broken pieces have altered the expanse of window to make it seem as though there are many ways of looking at it—directions in which one could go, dimensions of cloud corridor to take to alternate realities. In one of those I picture a bird flying on, having found an open portal and an empty sky instead of a door of life slamming shut by acting upon a mistaken perception of reality.
My head shifts up and down, from window to bird, too close to the situation to see it all in one glance, having to take it in pieces to see it clearly. I take a step back, trying to frame everything together and failing. In doing so, I step over the puzzle piece. seeing it now differently, I bend down and pick it up. I hold it in my hand the rest of the way home and leave it at the bottom of my pocket to be chanced upon in the future, when I will again enjoy the depth the metaphor has assumed.