Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]

OK, here is the next draft of gathering Eggs.  I gotta dash and pack etc because I am leaving for a writing retreat tomorrow--so much to do to get ready.  These changes aren't huge since yesterday.  Dunno if I'll be able to post again or not before I get back on Monday or Tuesday.

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]

Geraldine wears sandals so she can count on her toes
as well as her fingers.  Twenty hens lay twenty eggs.  Some to eat
and enough to sell.  But it's hard to count so high and still remember
from one egg to the next.  Each time, she starts
again.  One, she says, two, three, touching the fingers
of the free hand to the fingers of the hand holding the basket.  One hand
is right and one is left.  The left one is left behind when she catches
a ball, but when one hand holds the egg basket, she can't
remember which can catch.  An egg is a ball, stretched a little,
or squashed.  Or broken.  Geraldine sees eggs dropping:  broken
shells, a pool of thick water, the round yellow eye staring inside. 
Too many times, her mother yelled.  Got red with hollering. 

No, throwing and catching eggs is not a good idea.
She gathers the ones in the pen nest boxes first, the ones she can see. 
Eleven of them, all her fingers and a toe.  She finds five more
behind the door.  A whole foot's worth.  One between the hay bales. 
One under Peg-leg's favorite bush.  One in the cat's dish—that
would be Penny's.  And Bobo, Bobo dances in her nest box,
clucking and singing.  Geraldine laughs out loud.  Bobo looks up,
as if to say, "nothing funny here."  Geraldine bends, and clucking softly
to the chicken, slides her hand under its hot belly to retrieve the egg.
Ah, here it is, the last egg.  Hot under the hot belly, round and smooth
And hot.  Hotter even than her armpits.

Geraldine slides the egg out, cradles it between her breasts.  Sits
on a hay bale, basket beside her, and touches the hot egg.  The shape
feels good.  Smooth, round, and hot.  Sun dances though the chicken coop
window, golden, visible in slanting columns against the shadowed
walls of the henhouse.  She caresses the egg.  Smells the hay, the sun,
and the chicken droppings.  Bobo stops for a snack of corn
and a drink and joins the other chickens in the yard.
Geraldine strokes her egg gently, rubs it on her cheek,
and watches the chickens peck at the grass and dirt. At little insects.
The egg will soon join the others in the basket, but now,
it feels a little like happiness, a little like love.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

-----The line above, and everything below it, is not part of this poem----
081008- 1505-2a; 081007-2305-1c, for Dawn's assignment, Quiet, due Monday October 13, 2008

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