By Gail Mazur b. 1937 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.”

Gail Mazur, “Evening” 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 Growing Old, Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living

 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 Growing Old, Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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