A Dead Thing That, in Dying, Feeds the Living

I’ve been thinking about the anatomy
of the egg, about the two interior membranes,

the yolk held in place by the chalazae, gases
moving through the semipermeable shell.

A curious phrase, the anatomy of the egg,
as if an egg were a body, which it is,

as if the egg could be broken then mended,
which, depending on your faith, broken yes,

but mended? Well. Best to start
again, with a new body, voided

from a warmer one, brooded and turned.
Better to begin as if some small-handed

animal hadn’t knocked you against a rock,
licked clean the rich yolk and left

the albumen to dry in the sun — as if a hinged
jaw hadn’t swallowed you whole.

What I wanted: a practice that reassured
that what was cracked could be mended

or, at least, suspended so that it could not spread.
But now I wonder: better to be the egg or scaled

mandible? The small hand or the flies, bottle black
and green, spilling their bile onto whatever’s left,

sweeping the interior, drinking it clean?
I think, something might have grown there, though

I know it was always meant to be eaten,
it was always meant to spoil.

More Poems by Donika Kelly