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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, October 29, 2015.
About this Poem 

“Within the first year after the death of a loved one, it is the custom for the Jewish family to gather at the gravesite for a ceremony called the unveiling, the dedication of the marker. Traditionally, a cloth or veil is removed from the stone. The conversation in the poem is itself an unveiling.”
Gail Mazur

Unveiling, Wakefield

I say to the named granite stone, to the brown grass,
to the dead chrysanthemums, Mother, I still have a
body, what else could receive my mind’s transmissions,
its dots and dashes of pain?
I expect and get no answer,
no loamy scent of her coral geraniums. She who is now
immaterial, for better or worse, no longer needs to speak
for me to hear, as in a continuous loop, classic messages
of wisdom, love and fury. MAKE! DO! a note on our fridge
commanded. Here I am making, unmaking, doing, undoing.

Copyright © 2015 by Gail Mazur. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 29, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Gail Mazur. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 29, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Gail Mazur

Gail Mazur

Gail Mazur is the author of Figures in a Landscape (University of Chicago Press, 2011), Zeppo’s First Wife: New & Selected Poems (University of Chicago Press, 2005), which won the 2006 Massachusetts Book Award, and They Can’t Take That Away from Me (University of Chicago Press, 2001), among other books.

by this poet

poem
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
poem
You're the shadow shadow lurking in me
and the lunatic light waiting in that shadow.
 
Ghostwriter of my half-life, intention's ambush 
I can't prepare for, ruthless whammy 
 
you have me ogling a blinding sun, 
my right eye naked even with both lids closed—
 
glowering sun, unerring navigator 
around this
poem

Federal style, two small chips
in the gilt frame, found at a flea market
in the Eisenhower ’50s.

19th century American lovingly refinished,
loving gift of my mother:
It’s too good for you, so take care of it!

Some winter mornings here
the taut lit face of Ethel

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