by 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




They Can't Take That Away from Me by Gail Mazur was a 2001 National Book Award Finalist in the Poetry category.


Copyright notice: ©2001 Excerpted from They Can't Take That Away from Me by Gail Mazur, published by the University of Chicago Press. ©2001 by the University of Chicago. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of University of Chicago Press.

Gail Mazur
They Can't Take That Away from Me
©2001, 96 pages
Cloth $32.00 ISBN: 0-226-51444-7
Paper $12.00 ISBN: 0-226-51445-5

For information on purchasing the book—from bookstores or here online—please go to the webpage for They Can't Take That Away from Me.

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