Good Egg, Bad Egg / Kathy Prescott


A gift of backyard eggs is a rainbow of unblemished pleasures. 
I love the colors of the smooth shells: warm sand, hazy sky blue, 
as well as the one that names itself.

The pulp paper container safeguards the fragile contents.

Printed on the lid is a simple line drawing of a farm scene 
with three abbreviated chickens scratching the foreground.

Those birds spark a memory of our old, smoky den, where my father - still held together in his cufflinks and starched white shirt - puzzles out the crossword with his mechanical pencil.

Sometimes, if I come close, he’ll sketch a figure 8 in the margins of the newspaper, adding two M’s with a flourish (one on top for a comb, another to the side for a beak) - then wings and feet – and magically, before my eyes - a rooster!

“Cock-a-doodle-do” he says matter-of-factly.

I thought him a genius. Turns out he was drunk.

“Eight em”, my dad puns, chuckling into the bourbon humidity of his moustache.

He declares the end of my day through his halo of smoke, “Shadrach, Meshach and To-Bed-We-Go”. Leaving him behind, I head down the hall, not to the fiery furnace but to my bedroom, where the dreams are.

No way to judge an egg by its cover.

Here’s a helpful hint I read somewhere:

How To Determine If An Egg Is Good:

Submerge the egg in question in deep water. If it sinks, it’s fresh and fit to eat. If it floats, it’s bad and best thrown out.

This sounds disturbingly similar to another type of dunking:

How To Determine If A Woman Is A Witch:

First, bind up the suspect. Find the deep water and throw her in. If she sinks, she’s innocent and her reward waits in heaven. If she floats, she’s a witch and best burned at the stake.

I save the broken shells in their protective carton as wistful reminders.

Eggs were meant to be coddled. And Daddy blew perfect smoke rings.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

I enjoyed your poem, Kathy. "Still held together by his cufflinks and starched white shirt..." what a great line. Puzzles out. I also love comparing the good egg test to the Salem witch hunts. Great metaphor or did it come from that literally?

I hope you are doing well - we all miss you!

Love,
APH