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End of April

Under a cherry tree
I found a robin’s egg,
broken, but not shattered.

I had been thinking of you,
and was kneeling in the grass
among fallen blossoms

when I saw it: a blue scrap,
a delicate toy, as light
as confetti

It didn’t seem real,
but nature will do such things
from time to time.

I looked inside:
it was glistening, hollow,
a perfect shell

except for the missing crown,
which made it possible
to look inside.

What had been there
is gone now
and lives in my heart

where, periodically,
it opens up its wings,
tearing me apart.

—Phillis Levin

from The Afterimage, 1996
Copper Beech Press, Providence, RI

Copyright 1996 by Phillis Levin.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Copper Beech Press from The Afterimage, 1996. Copyright 1996 by Phillis Levin. For further permissions information, contact Copper Beech Press, P.O. Box 2578, Providence, RI 02906.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Phillis Levin is the author of four poetry collections, including May Day (Penguin, 2008). She also served as editor for The Penguin Book of the Sonnet (2001) and teaches at Hofstra University.

Learn more about Phillis Levin at The Poetry Foundation.