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Once my eyes close, they watch / her calcium peeling piece by piece.

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
December 13, 2022

My hand stole the duck’s egg it carefully hid
inside a laundry basket bedded with sweaty t-shirts

and pages torn from cookbooks that no one here
will ever read. Instead, we eyeball things: eyeballs

of fish, cloves of garlic, the salt dropping
off our fingers in flakes like leaves dropping

off branches equally as decisive or not, leaves
to branches that is, one deciding to drop or the other

to be dropped. We bloom and shed quickly
over a boiling pot. Natural process: my sister

eating till she falls asleep with her neck curved
against my shoulder more tightly than an egg

shells against its meat. Once my eyes close, they watch
her calcium peeling piece by piece. I’m pinched awake.

Knowing the violence before committing the violence
ought to be worse than committing violence.

The following day, my sister peels herself
with a sharp stone the size of a duck’s egg.

She ducked silly behind an invisible tree
while stone flew the hand “and just like that,”

my violence recounts moments later, “it happened
just like that. I didn’t throw anything.

Her scalp caught a flying impulse, you know,
how my jaw catches open fists, how our kitchen wall

catches breaking glass— Impulse.”
A tree won’t apologize to a leaf for its branch any more

than a sister won’t apologize to a sister for her hand (or stone?).
Another analogy drops onto the neck curved

against my shoulder. In a few weeks, the duck’s egg
is made large with lullabies and a sweet name. Yet,

some days, as I’m whisking meringue in the kitchen
my hand strays into the basket so my sister asks:

[speaker’s name], are you going to beat [embryo’s name]?
[Speaker’s name], are you going to break [embryo’s name]

over a boiling pot? [Reader, because the speaker forgets,
she can’t walk us through every progression

but she can jump to where she is:] slower than a bruise
changes color, my hand returns to its side. I return

my hand to my side and begin all movement with I. I
am cracking the correct egg and cleaning the correct pot.

I am kissing her bandaged scalp and
I am curved against my sister till she peels me off.

I am holding a named creature in my hand someday,
once I have broken the last thing that I break—