Holiday was an African-American jazz singer, and one of the most acclaimed singers of the 20th century. Her nickname, "Lady Day," is meant to suggest that she is jazz royalty. "The Day Lady Died" elegizes Billie Holiday without ever mentioning her by name. We catch only small glimpses of her, and of the effect of her death on the speaker. Paradoxically, by hiding her death behind a blizzard of names and places, we notice the yawning gap in the poem created the absence of the figure mentioned in the title.