Monday, December 17, 2018

The Egg-Tossing Contest

We were the last couple you’d choose
to preserve anything fragile, still
at the company outing that year,
we enter the egg-tossing contest.

With him on one side of the divide,
me on the other, I lift
the egg up and arcing.
He catches in a downward move
like the many times he’s dodged
my questions only to catch them
at the last when I am out of patience.
On his turn, he lofts the egg,
light as life. I watch
its rise and descent,
reaching out with open palm,
fingers poised to cradle
in the familiar gesture.
We’ve survived the first round.
Some contestants stand
in smashed eggs
then leave the playing field.
On the next round, I watch his eyes,
then drop mine to his arm,
sense the backward swing a moment before
he makes it, our movements slow, felt,
not the frenetic way we make decisions
in the kitchen, say, the quick questions,
answers hotter than the eggs on the griddle.
This egg spins slowly, I lift my hand
to receive and shield. It rides safe
once more. We win the contest that day.
The award ceremony, hands held high
above, is baptism with our own egg
and a dunk in the lake
while we rinse our victory
from each other’s hair,
his short and curly,
mine long and tangled.





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