Puzzle Map

It was Mouse Trap that toppled off the big-box toy store's top shelf
landed on my mother's head and knocked her out.
Clerks, manager, EMTs until she could spit out Reagan was president.
But it was the 14x18 puzzle of the United States she was after,
a wholesome flat package, pieces in-place to start with,
roomy two-inch border, eagle in the corner
and each state's outline beveled in the not-at-all flimsy base.
Made a kind of sense, her country
for her grandson to hold on his lap, turn upside down,
shake if he pressed the states down tight.
Mousetrap's giddy chaos they had mastered together,
both drawn to games that appear in a small way to push a limit:
beaver dams of pick-up sticks, towering Stak Attack minarets,
pretending their success was, oh, just random.
The U.S., though, a different skill, a puzzle yet not a puzzle,
fifty rigid, simply illustrated facts—
cactus, lobster, cowboy hat, Canaveral rocket, bison/buffalo, peanut.
On the speckled linoleum store aisle she came-to
embarrassed and apologetic the way women blame ourselves
for what falls on us from high and dangerous places.
The store gave her the puzzle, sent her a decent-size check.