Two Kinds of Stubbornness
On his seventieth birthday, my father eats an egg for breakfast;
soft-boiled, with triangles of rye. The eggcup was mine as a child.
Half a man, it stands on ceramic boots, trouser-legs lacquered red,
its belly hollowed out. I always botched my egg; I crashed its head
straight off, and a swell of yolk bled sluggishly down the side.
My father is using a butter-knife. He taps delicately around the
skull as if ringing a spoon against crystal. Tap, tap. His face works
silently, a grave moon the egg is orbiting. He twists the knife-tip
in, levering away a neat helmet of shell. Inside, the orange dome
curves up: bright, intact, surgical. I can't tell you why he keeps his
yolks whole. I break mine, as a matter of principle.
This poem comes from Sarah's book Aria which won the 2007 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and was published by University of Queensland Press.
I find this poem very attractive in its exactness and precision. And I really like the surgical/principle rhyme.