Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gathering Eggs

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. 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 that 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 like a ball, but stretched a little,
or squashed, and breakable. Geraldine remembers dropping eggs: the broken
shells, the pool of thick water, the round yellow eye 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 inside her own armpits.

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 hen house. She caresses the egg. Smells the hay, the sun,
and the chicken dropping. 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.
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----
081007-1347-1b, for Dawn's assignment, Quiet, due Monday October 13, 2008

I am taking a poetry class from MFA at Vermont classmate Dawn McDuffie at the Scarab Club in Detroit across from the DIA. Detroit Institute of Arts. AND I just got a partial scholarship to the Springfed Artists retreat in Harbor Spring Michigan next weekend. YAY! I am VERY excited!! WAHOO! Fun fun!

I am hoping to also enjoy fall color driving back and forth.

The poem above is a brand new poem that I wrote JUST now, wrote the first draft and one revision, which is posted above. The assignment was "Quiet." Geraldine, the protagonist of my manuscript, is a brain-damaged young woman (in this poem), and I felt that her solo gathering of eggs and appreciating them was a quiet moment in her life. Ricky is her boyfriend and lover, who she hasn't seen since it was detected she was pregnant.

I have a bunch more new poems, but have not had time to post them. AK! And will not prolly, til after I return and get settled in (Just got back from the Dodge poetry festival in NJ!)

I see that the lines are too long and that the line breaks are messed up as a result of that.

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