Joanna Guthrie's 'Home'


I offer to cook you an egg, at least:
that’s something I can do. Okay
you say, the bent nape of your neck facing me
your thinking fingers searching over the keyboard.

So I find a pan, let water pour in
thumb the lighter
to light the heat
so the water can set to rising.

The gas flame floats like bluebells.
It is quiet and luminous
outside, the leaves are nearly ready, dipping
in crinkled discs, still damp, settling in

for the long season. I take an egg from the box
lower it in and burn my thumb
the egg tumbles and thumps the pan’s edges –
the water fizzes slightly around its turn.

Beyond here there’ll be lambs
tottering on spotless flares
butting her for milk
and on the lanes, frogs squashed to tracing-paper

their legs a dry curl.
The lambs will spring four feet clear from the grass
with the shock of the land, the crows will fly low
so the lambs turn their heads. The fields will be greening.

The egg knocks against the pan.
The house ticks over.

You quarter the egg later and its yolk
the yolk of this egg alone
is a yellow of gorse, of dandelion, of the centre of sun
and you eat it on bread, in the afternoon, in this quiet.

*Joanna Guthrie’s Billack’s Bones was published by Rialto in 2007; “her remarkable first collection cuts across accepted and expected boundaries and dimensions, directing us towards a physical world of overlooked riches.” – Ambit.  She is currently completing Hurricane Season a book about the Florida Keys.

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