by Rachel D’Amboise
My mother’s egg, the painted one,
Sits crouching, crooked on its base,
Wrapped roundabout in cambering lines,
Snapping, fisted, bow-bent lines,
In that corner, over there.
She says to me, with wicker eyes,
That egg, the crooked one, in that corner, over there,
Will belong to you one day
As it does to me right now.
And as once it was my mother’s.
Or so she says.
I swear I will not have it.
My grandmother swore, too,
When she was young,
Stepping light and lithe down bucking Georgetown streets,
Restive, rambling college streets,
The smell of newness in the air.
Fox-eyed and beautiful
With toes that itched for earth.
I never knew her.
I heard they called her Gypsy,
But she’d never tell me why.
I know why they stopped.
Oh, they’d whisper, she lost her little Paul,
As if her darling were a marble.
So she bought herself an egg,
A sky-bleak blue, chiasmic egg,
Then clewed her words in a copper tin.
And never lived again.
Boxwood-skinned, soft, Cimber-girl,
My mother holds it now,
The restless, crouching thing.
It kulns at me, it kulns with me.
To crack the shell or not?