The editorial staff of the The Thing Itself extends their apologies to Spring 2018 author Catherine Lee for the misprint of her work, “Missing Piece (For Jason)” in the printed edition of journal No. 45.

We are working to install new procedures for the review process for proofs for all versions of the journal.

The online edition of journal No. 45 has been corrected.  Additionally, we would like to showcase the completed poem here for all of our readers.

by Catherine Lee

Published in the The Thing Itself, No. 45, Spring 2018
I mentor a schoolboy who loves puzzles
but shies away from 4th grade reads.
Our jigsaw games, it’s true, they’re fun
but I’m more fond of reading one-on-one.
I noticed he’s a kid who imitates
so I’m attempting to inspire him.
One day his teacher sent an article along
for us to read outside of class.
I listened to him struggle, read aloud
while I read upside down and silently
until he stumbled over words like
“conflict” “diamonds” “brutal” work
in tale of children mining gemstones deep in Congo.
At age of 12, boys graduate to working physically
instead of paying teachers cash to finish school.
They have a choice, if you can call it that,
to mine blood gems and skip their reading class.
I reminded him he’s also 12, but he objected
stated he’s 11 yet ’til next week’s celebration.
I see he always balks when task is hard.
He finds it wrong to lose. He must be Number One.
So we switch to different kinds of puzzlement
finding United State shapes on a jigsaw map.
Texas is the shape he knows extremely well
with border limits he can easily identify.
I best him ‘cuz I hail from north New Jersey,
old enough to drive through lots of other states.
May he grow wise enough to follow roadmaps
puzzling past the borders set before him,
smart enough to understand the shifting shape of
knowledge: reading is the missing piece
he needs to always win.

Bio: Catherine A. Lee founded, and ran for 13 years, Studio Red Top, Inc., a loft space/nonprofit in Boston. There Lee began exploring poetry as a percussive voice with jazz musicians—including joint gigs with her mentor, Beat poet/hipster tedjoans in 1986-87—and produced concerts, jam sessions, and readings. Though primarily a poet, she writes grants, other types of nonfiction, and produces video storylines. Her multimedia creations are archived on Soundcloud ( and Vimeo ( 



Correction to Catherine Lee’s “Missing Piece (For Jason)” in The Thing Itself, Issue No. 45, Spring 2018