Evening

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