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."