National Poetry Month and Ales Steger’s “Egg”

So there I was, out in the yard with Seriously and trying, unsuccessfully, to keep her from rolling in the dead, stinky thing over by the trees, when the neighbor came out to feed their chickens.

We live at the end of a cul-de-sac, on a slender side street that borders a park and bike trail, so that while it’s in the city limits, if feels more isolated and remote, especially since our backyard is wild. We don’t mow the brush. We leave it long and tangled. We allow it to do whatever it damn well pleases.

I walked through our wild yard to the neighbors’ nicely-kept yard for some stimulating chicken talk (and trust me, chickens are more interesting than they look) and returned home cradling three perfect eggs.


Aren’t they lovely? Don’t they look as perfect as a poem?

So in tribute to National Poetry Month, I decided to include Ales Steger‘s Egg poem, which is lovely, humorous and fierce enough to pack a little yolk.



Ales Steger

When you kill it at the edge of the pan, you don’t notice
That the egg grows an eye in death.

It is so small, it doesn’t satisfy
Even the most modest morning appetite.

But it already watches, already stares at your world.
What are its horizons, whose glassy-eyed perspectives?

Does it see time, which moves carelessly through space?
Eyeballs, eyeballs, cracked shells, chaos or order?

Big questions for such a little eye at such an early hour.
And you – do you really want an answer?

When you sit down, eye to eye, behind a table,
You blind it soon enough with a crust of bread.


P.S. Steger is a Slovenian poet, editor and literary critic and author of “The Book of Things,” which The Kenyon Review called “…a smart, startling, and wildly pleasurable book.”

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