Maybe It’s Only the Monotony

By Gail Mazur b. 1937 Gail Mazur
of these long scorching days   
but today my daughter   
is truly exasperating—
Stop it! I shout—or I’ll
and I twist her little pinked arm
calibrating my ferocity—

You can’t hurt me you can’t hurt me!
She’s so defiant, glowering,
glaring at me—
but frightened,
her eyes bright with tears—
See, I’m not even crying!

I see. But it’s the angel
of extermination
I see, shining
in his black trappings,
and turning ecstatically
toward him, a little Jewish girl   
tempts him
to play his game of massacre.

                      —after Vittorio Sereni

Gail Mazur, “Maybe It’s Only the Monotony” from Zeppo's First Wife: New & Selected Poems (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005). Copyright © 2001 by Gail Mazur. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: They Can't Take That Away from Me (The University of Chicago Press, 2001)

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Poet Gail Mazur b. 1937

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Home Life, Relationships, Parenthood

 Gail  Mazur


After nearly 13 years of apprenticing herself to poetry, during which she studied with Robert Lowell and immersed herself in the Boston/Cambridge literary scene, Mazur published her first collection, Nightfire (1978), at age 40. Other books include The Pose of Happiness (1986); They Can’t Take That Away from Me (2001); and Zeppo’s First Wife: New & Selected Poems (2006). Tess Taylor, interviewing Mazur for the Atlantic Monthly . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Home Life, Relationships, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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