Poetry Porch: Poetry


Dana Street, December
by Gail Mazur

As if I had no language
and would begin again
in the linguistics
of infancy,
but amnesiac
therefore with nothing
to say—

(unlike the woman in rehab
who could walk
and walked the linoleum
at all hours, shouting
to no one, I KNOW

—all the words
she knew)

I walked,
past a yard
overgrown, scraggly
after the first frost,
a rose—the bitterest orange—
still blooming, piercing
the morning
(My work had stopped,
I thought

or imperfection
not the issue, a radiance
utterly itself,
pale petals tinged
fiery (provident neighbor,
astute, to nurture
that gift)

(I didn’t take it)

Not to be thinking
Is this enough, this
moment, the chilled
unpromising air,
not to be wanting more
than I’d been given,
but remembering

last October when
I carried a glass vase,
its rose
lush, creamy,
across my living room
for your appreciations,

how you rose from
the rush-seated chair
to meet it, saying,
“Oh no, Gail,
the rose doesn’t come
to you—
you go
to the rose.”

Copyright © by Gail Mazur. This poem is from Zeppo’s First Wife, University of Chicago Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission.