Fathom Mag

Mary Oliver

Published on:
December 1, 2022
Read time:
1 min.
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Today, Mary Oliver saved my life.
I don’t mean metaphorically.
I mean that this morning I awoke
with Death on my mind, and now
I am merely unhappy.

I mean that I was sad, very sad,
and I snapped at my husband,
who nonetheless brought me the morning
coffee and a kiss. And even that
offering of goodness was insufficient
until I read about the dangle of edible
flowers in Mary’s honey locust tree,
and the stone-hard beauty of the world.
Then, I felt I could bear it—all of it—
the pain and indifference, the silken flower
that falls.

I got up, and made my bed.
I ate a hard-boiled egg.
I wrote this poem.

I found my husband at the computer,
his eyes wary and worried.
I said, Good morning,
and kissed him atop his beautiful head.

He said, Is it? A good morning?

We drank our coffees. I saw then that each
slim and silvery hair of his was already counted.

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton's stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, The Summerset Review, Carve Magazine, and Texas Monthly, among other publications. Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art chose her short story "Go Boom" for Texas Bound, a live show that features Texas-connected actors reading works of short fiction by Texas-connected writers. Elizabeth has an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University.

Cover image by Jon Tyson.

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