Grief

A poem

Don’t speak to me of heartbreak, I have an argument

with habits of metaphor—it’s not the heart

 

In April I brought tulips white

pale green and orange in from the garden

 

you mean but the ineffable—character soul

locus of feeling—don’t tell me that muscle

 

and with his fine pen he drew page after

page of delicate ravishing tulips

 

is made whole by breaking—the thready beat

made stronger if ravaged, then repaired

 

In June plush peonies named for Paean

the physician to ancient gods

 

Could we salvage joy from each day loosening

Then July I brought the overabundance

 

of the Oriental lily’s perfume

our ravenous hold on the world?

 

his hand transfigured the rich ivory paper

Where could it be written,

 

to a garden room various edenic alive

why would anyone say, why would

 

a rabbi teach the heart survives by breaking?

August now and great maples tall oaks darken

 

and cool the garden so flowers know not to thrive

that in black ink my love may still shine bright

 

Presented by

Gail Mazur’s most recent collection is Figures in a Landscape (2011). She lives in Cambridge and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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