Melanie Dusseau


I ask Mabel:
why's it always crushed,
the blue robin
egg of spring?

Why not some other story,
or a chance to be helpful kids?
Hatch it, tip it baby food
on a toothpick.

Mabel is older.
Doesn't waltz around
like us, butter dishes
filled with grass,
searching out the fallen.

We think hard about eggs.
Not so much eggs, but birth.
Or maybe birds.



February 12, 1809

He begins like us:
rice nubbin,
scrap tadpole,
waxed and furred
then smooth
as a chewed banana.

In the birth room,
his egg-headed, alien skull
too large, precarious
as that fabled soft spot
we fear to puncture
with our clumsy thumbs—
as I imagine a man is afraid
of his full weight
on a bird-boned woman.

One-minute human,
he recognizes the nurse.
Our kind, lovely forehead.
Likewise the doctor and midwife,
splendid primates all.

When he sees his mother,
he screams—
his baby brain flipping switches
on the slippery cave of prehistory:

teat, thumb, groom,
walk, hunt, fire,
speak, mate, steal,
farm, build, war.

A fiery synopsis
in every cell,
story of origin
in the entrails of afterbirth.

His shriek fades
to a dull hiccup
and he suckles.

There would be time
to let the ocean
in her lick him clean.



A Darwin poem closes each of the four sections of my manuscript, and this is the first in that series. I have always been enamored with the language of science and envision these poems as their own kind of evolution of one man's life. If interested, you can read the last in the series, his death poem, [here].

I really do think a lot about eggs. When I was little, I was convinced that I could hatch ones from the fridge if I could just warm them under a pillow for a few days.