A Fresh Egg
-For Becky & her hens

Spooning out the marigold-
yellow yolk, cutting up
the springy white—this egg
needs no salt or pepper,
and butter would be
sacrilege–the taste is
so homely, familiar,
and still fills me with wonder.

Who was it, I think, as I
scrape out the last morsels
–that first human being
to dare eat an egg?
I imagine some hungry
prehistoric mother foraging
on the wide savannah—
did downwards at the bird,
miss, then find her hands
coated with sticky golden
sap and translucent juice?
Grunting in dismay, she raises
her hands to her mouth, sniffs,
begins to lick the odd stuff off
each finger, one by one.
And runs back to tell the others.

Sated, I sit a while longer
at the breakfast table
peeling off with my fingernail
a few thin strips of eggwhite
still sticking to the shell’s inside
and putting them into my mouth–
remembering how Miss Bellamy
the young Science teacher
I had a crush on in 6th Grade
showed us the innermost
flexible skin of a hardboiled egg
and told us it was what’s called
a semi-permeable membrane.