Eggs by Jennifer Maloney

At night I curl beneath the quilt, made of silence, darkness,
cotton, embroidery,
I coil against myself under its weight and feel the night upwell
with whatever dreams
I may wade through or sink into like a mound of flowers.
I bend and press my face to them, the scent of Mother’s Day and
funeral homes,
the purple fragrance of Easter, and colors start to spiral like a
spinning egg,
bedecked with bright lacquer and ribbons.
When the eggs start dancing like girls in wooden shoes, tuck
their fists against their hips, tip their heads from side to side and
whistle, kick their carved clogs, kerchiefs bobbing in time, red-
cheeked as Hummel figurines—when the eggs start to dance,
you know they’ve probably gone bad.
Which is too bad because they’re absolutely darling: perfectly fit
to the palm of one’s hand when they aren’t dressed like Hansel
and Gretel.
A dozen elliptical children, white, brown, speckled, smooth,
they’ve been waiting, patient as stones, for weeks in the refrigerator,
waiting to be fried or boiled, scrambled, mixed into cake batter or
fried rice.
Waiting with still solemnity, uniformity, in prayerful rows, bowed
heads, eyes closed, ommmm...until, one day, one of them squints.
Casts a jaundiced eye around the place, mutters what’s it all for,
and sighs in existential ennui, understanding that life, after all, is
not about fulfilling a purpose, but is in fact utterly absurd, devoid
of reason, and so decides why not,
why not and begins to spin in place like a dervish,
scrambling its own brains but at least going out with some sense
of autonomy instead of this endless waiting, for what?
To be used? No—to be of service, murmur its brothers and sisters,
who then return, once again, to their mindful breathing.

A writer of fiction and poetry, Jennifer Maloney is a disabled woman living with chronic illness. Find her work in Litro Magazine, Literally Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Neologism Poetry Journal and many other places. Jennifer is the co-editor of the poetry anthology Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Film (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing, 2021) and the author of Evidence of Fire, Poems & Stories (Clare Songbirds Publishing, 2023) and Don’t Let God Know You are Singings (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing, 2024). Jennifer is also a parent, a partner, and a very lucky friend, and she is grateful, every day, for all of it.