Friday, October 10, 2008

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]

yet another draft

Gathering Eggs (How Geraldine Remembers Ricky) [Quiet]



Geraldine wears sandals so she can count

on all her fingers and all her toes.  Twenty hens mean twenty eggs. 

Some to eat, enough to sell.  It's hard to count that high

and remember from one egg to the next.  She starts over

again each time.  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.  She knows 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.  She could toss an egg like a ball.  An egg,

so like a ball but stretched a little, or squashed, and breakable. 

Geraldine remembers dropping eggs:  the broken

shells, the pool of water thick, the round yellow eye staring,

staring inside. 


Too many times, her mother yelled, got red.  No,

throwing and catching eggs is not a good idea.

She gathers the ones in the nest boxes first, the ones she can see. 

Eleven of them, ten fingers and one 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 own armpits where she warms her hands

in snowfall.


Geraldine slides the egg out, cradles it between her breasts.  She 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 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 dropping.  Watches Bobo stop for a snack of corn

and a drink and join the other chickens in the yard.

Geraldine strokes her egg gently, rubs it on her cheek,

and watches the chickens peck grass, dirt and 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----

081010-1605-2, 081007-1347-1b, for Dawn's assignment, Quiet, due Monday October 13, 2008

No comments: