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
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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.
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.