A poem by Angela Patten, faculty member of the Conference on Poetry and Teaching (June 24-28, 2012)

Lately I’ve been thinking
about eggs,
their perfect shape,
their shells smooth
as an infant’s footsole,
seamless as a stone.
Eggs are independent,
the way I’d like
my life to be,
except that I keep
thinking of it as
an egg-and-spoon race
in which I’m dashing blindly forward,
trying to hold my spoon steady
so as not to drop the baby
on his fragile skull,
his fontanelle still beating.
There was a man
in my old neighborhood
whose skull had been cracked
like an egg,
then glued together
just enough
to let him follow directions,
do what his mother told him,
walk furiously around
the Five Sister streets all day
and try not to frighten
small children.
I’d like everything to be orderly,
perfectly balanced
as an egg.
But I keep hearing
that distant tapping
getting louder, the sound
of an insistent beak
that won’t give up
until it has broken


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