Jigsaw [15 Words or Less Poems]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. 

jigsaw ceiling 15wol
Photo: Laura P. Salas

Going through the Atlanta airport for NCTE recently, I was enchanted by this ceiling in one terminal hallway. It was dark and hushed, and then wildlife sounds would play. And in the center was an open section of “sky.” Occasionally, a flock of birds would fly across the blue screen. It was so relaxing. An instant de-stresser. A great reminder that reality is what we perceive at any moment. Yes, it’s a busy, hectic world. But also, there is beauty and calm, and rainforest noise to ease our moods. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. finishing a jigsaw puzzle to realize ONE piece is missing
  2. camouflage pants
  3. “The Veldt,” by Ray Bradbury (love that story–click here to see just the text in a Word doc)

And here’s my first draft. I was thinking about sound effects and computer generated images and weird, jagged pieces could create the feeling of something manmade and violent or something natural and relaxing–a little escape.

jigsaw-sky 15wol

It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)



31 Responses

  1. I can see why you were enchanted with this ceiling. What a wonderful addition to an airport! The more I read your poem, the more I love it. Great word choice!

    Sunrise on the Pond

    Golden rays caress
    rippling balsam reflections
    and drifts of lily pads.
    Blue sky peeks through.

    1. Thanks! Ooh, I love the specifics here. Balsam makes me smell the trees (that’s my favorite evergreen scent, I think), and I can see the lilypads…you’ve put me right in this scene.

  2. Would love to experience that hallway!


    Puzzle pieces everywhere,
    Hope turns to despair.

    Trying one by one,
    finally gets it done.

    1. I almost wrote a puzzle poem — my dog just at the most recent puzzle after the cat knocked about 20 pieces on the floor for her (we’ll never know how many, as she ate many and I’m not finishing the puzzle!). But don’t you love puzzles?

    2. It really is spectacular. You can see people’s demeanor change (most people) as they go through it. They take a deep breath, shoulders unhunch, etc. Your cheerful poem made me think of “Put One Foot in Front of the Other,” which is now playing in my brain. (We watched Santa Claus Is Coming to Town the other night.)

  3. Poem by Jessica Bigi

    Painting By Numbers

    Teacher sad easy
    fallowing numbers
    matching colors
    one two three
    red blue green
    messy-messy ‑massy

    1. Love the plaintive voice in this, Jessica. Even “easy” projects don’t come out the way we hope, sometimes!

  4. This looked like the sky through a leaf covered surface of a pond or lake, and made me think of a fish’s voice who lived there.

    The World is Water

    Above is waterlight
    Below is waterdark
    I move inwaterbetween
    Don’t take me to

  5. I love trees in any season. I also like when airports, which are often so dull and industrial looking, display art.


    A dream of leaves
    rustling green. Wake up
    to bare branches
    against gray winter sky.

    Kate Coombs

    1. I agree on all counts, Kate! What a beautiful, surreal, and melancholy feel this has. Feels like part of a wonderful folk song.

  6. Rain Forest Sunrise

    Refracting, ricocheting
    Timid fingers through the leaves
    Warming cold earth

  7. Laura, I love jigsaw puzzles and I have been in that particular terminal hallway. You captured it beautifully.

    Mother Nature’s Palette

    She lays colors
    mixes, slathers
    onto blank canvas
    adds bit of red for the season.

  8. I love the bright colors of this photo, and especially the sigh of a rainforest sky.…but my brain has turned them white, like the world outside my window.

    Snow Party

    Crystals meet and mingle–
    a crazy quilt stitched together
    to blanket the morning
    in white.

    1. Another great envisioning! It does have the look of frost crystals on a window. I remember them on my bedroom window as a child. Better insulation and better windows has almost made that a thing of the past for houses!

  9. Next time I am in the Atlanta airport, I will have to look up. The poems are fun today.

    my sight gone to pieces
    glancing through
    a kaleidoscope

  10. Oh Laura, wasn’t it so beautiful? I took a video as we passed through. The shared image reminds me of the collage of people I met and hugged and hung out with at NCTE.

    Bright yellow
    welcomes deep green,
    Blue sky holds orange hands,
    a rainbow of friends.

    1. Oh, that is beautiful, Margaret! Your brief poems lately have just resonated so with me.

  11. A maze of uncertainty
    Reveals what lies within
    Your heart and soul
    for all eternity

    Anne McKenna

    (first in a while)

    1. Welcome back, Anne! This makes me see that jigsaw ceiling as a kind of Rorschach test:>)

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