Seven Brown Eggs

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Seven brown eggs

that March morning.

Around the yard,

the birds flapped

and clucked, their feet

reaching like claws

to grasp the ground.


In that same yard,

children from Paris

wore fat mittens and

shiny, puffy coats.

School was fun today!

So they ran squealing

after the strutting birds.


I, the American, stood

still in old clothes, my

mother’s striped wool hat,

glancing now and again

at la maitresse, the teacher,

too shy to try out my French.

She spoke so quickly, so curt.


I found the quieter ones,

the girl with tender, curious

brown eyes, the round-

cheeked boy who hung

in corners and yet released

a huge smile when he

saw me smiling back.


Together, we collected

the eggs in a green plastic

bucket. Inside the shed’s

shadows, straw, fallen

feathers. And this place

far from all of our homes


became home. Ours.

For that short moment

these were my children

and my chickens, this

barnyard mine, and theirs.


Smoothing our fingers over

the fawn-brown eggs,

handing them one to another

watching them nestle in

the bottom with bits of straw


and counting: Un, deux, trois,

quatre, cinq, six, sept! Sept oeufs!

We beamed, without speaking,

as if we had laid them ourselves

while the others raced around

squawking and laughing

on our little Normandy farm.

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