by Phillis Levin

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.

SOURCE: “End of April” appears in Phillis Levin’s collection The Afterimage (Copper Beech Press, 1995), available at

ILLUSTRATION: “Opus No. 122″ by Kazue Shima


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phillis Levin is the author of four poetry collections, including May Day (Penguin, 2008), and editor of the Penguin Book of the Sonnet (Penguin, 2001). She teaches at Hofstra University.

Author photo by Sheila McKinnon