Blue Book

Days before she died

my mother stood in line,

took a picture for a passport—

                                                          unaware           of the apparition

                                                                                                                          in her blood,

                                       the water from the window

                                                                              she would never see.

Days before she died,

                           my mother        planned

                                                                                            to fly—

Stacy Nigliazzo is one of Pulse’s two poetry editors. She proudly serves the Houston community as an emergency-department nurse and is the award-winning author of Scissored Moon and Sky the Oar. Her poems have appeared in Pulse, Bellevue Literary Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, JAMA and elsewhere.

About the Poem

“In 2003 my mother was planning a trip overseas with her girlfriends. Shortly after she received her passport in the mail–her very first passport, at the age of fifty-two–she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She died a few weeks later. This poem honors the journeys we all must take in life; those that are planned, those that are unexpected and those that are inevitable.”

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5 thoughts on “Blue Book”

  1. this is a fantastic poem. Very beautifully stylized and formatted. The last lines are fabulous! So heartbreaking and real.

  2. Oh my….this poem evokes so many things… touches the loss in everyone who’s lost someone in that unexpected way…even its fragmented form. Its first line should be a poetry prompt. What you wrote, Stacy, in “About the poem” – especially the last sentence, is every bit as eloquent as the poem itself. Well done.

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