Gail Mazur

Sometimes she's Confucian--
resolute in privation. . . .
Each day, more immobile,
hip not mending, legs swollen;
still she carries her grief
with a hard steadiness.
Twelve years uncompanioned,
there's no point longing for
what can't return. This morning,
she tells me, she found a robin
hunched in the damp dirt
by the blossoming white azalea.
Still there at noon--
she went out in the yard
with her 4-pronged metal cane--
it appeared to be dying.
Tonight, when she looked again,
the bird had disappeared and
in its place, under the bush,
was a tiny egg--
"Beautiful robin's-egg blue"--
she carried carefully indoors.
"Are you keeping it warm?"
I ask--what am I thinking?--
And she: "Gail, I don't want
a bird, I want a blue egg."
From They Can't Take That Away from Me by Gail Mazur. Copyright © 2000 by Gail Mazur. Reprinted with permission by The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Dear Migraine, by Gail Mazur
You're the shadow shadow lurking in me

Further Reading

Poems About Illness
Kaddish, Part I
by Allen Ginsberg
A Litany in Time of Plague
by Thomas Nashe
Afternoon at MacDowell
by Jane Kenyon
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
by Donna Masini
Auld Lang Syne
by Jennifer L. Knox
by Carmen Giménez Smith
by William Olsen
by Josephine Dickinson
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon
Cognitive Deficit Market
by Joshua Corey
Everyone Gasps with Anxiety
by Jeni Olin
Having it Out with Melancholy
by Jane Kenyon
Her Body Like a Lantern Next to Me
by John Rybicki
Hospital Writing Workshop
by Rafael Campo
In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden
Losing It
by Margaret Gibson
by Wanda Coleman
by Michael Redhill
Prayer for Sleep
by Cheryl Dumesnil
R.I.P., My Love
by Tory Dent
by Shel Silverstein
The Embrace
by Mark Doty
The Land of Counterpane
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Nurse
by Michael Blumenthal
The Sick Child
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sick Rose
by William Blake
The Subalterns
by Thomas Hardy
The Transparent Man
by Anthony Hecht
The Visit
by Jason Shinder
To Amy Lowell
by Eunice Tietjens
by Donald Hall
by Albert Goldbarth
Visits to St. Elizabeths
by Elizabeth Bishop
Waking in the Blue
by Robert Lowell
When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
by John Milton