Every girl remembers her first time:
the sighting of the albumen and yolk,
the recall of that smooth containment,
the cool shape and form
that will become her in the end.
At first, it appears odd, something
from another planet. If only,
for a second, she might be alone
with her memory - what a girl would not give;
and to then see again her mother
crack the shell, whisk ripe oranges
and sun-shines into a scramble,
drop the matter whole into a poach,
or simply keep the affair sealed, a raw secret
that will only be slowly brought to the boil.
I flew to them to forget you.
I fed them bread to starve the memories
of how, like a storm,
you raged and thundered about my failings,
the eggs that weren’t cooked properly,
the bruises I would no longer hide.
And they offered me passion:
like two snakes in combat, heads swayed
into an awfully beautiful heart.
I was at the edge
of their lake, witness to their nest,
the soft paddle hidden within each shell.
But this is where the difference ended.
Like you, the cob cornered me - a visitation,
tar-feathered, red-beaked. And like you,
he rose, a fire in the belly.
His wings stretched like scorched monsters.
His spitting arrow-head sought me out.
But for once I wasn’t beaten.
A ruffle amongst shadows, a squawk
like a mad thing, I forced his retreat.
Black and bitter, I took flight again.
Siobhan Harvey is a writer, reviewer and lecturer based in New Zealand.
She is the author of two collections of poetry, and her work has
appeared in magazines and anthologies in New Zealand, Australia, US, UK
and Europe. She currently lectures and tutors Creative Writing at The
University of Auckland.