Bandaged Orb

His gnarled hand gently lifts each egg,
holds it a fixed distance from the candle
which turns each one into a glowing orb
of marble, veined with possibility. Light

also reveals a fault-line of weakness, an
unevenness in the layers of spun calcium,
a place between the ochre freckles prone
to fail, likely to crack during the coming

days of incubation. An early break would
mean the end for some half-formed thing
as yet unable to survive without its oval
exoskeleton. What is there to lose in the face

of a disaster so foretold? The old man with
the candle grants permission to his grandson
for an experiment, indulges the young one’s
request, then watches from a distance as

the boy selects a roll of hope from the First
Aid case, gently wraps and smooths the tape
across the weak place in the shell, shapes
a non-invasive suture. Long after the child

goes to bed, the grandfather stays awake.
Eventually, he rises, walks softly to the door,
pauses to contemplate the bandaged orb
nestled in the incubator’s corner, then slips

outside to breathe in the good night, to hold
that breath and listen for the familiar eerie
trill of the Eastern screech owl. For the first
time in near forever, he finds himself in prayer.

After Luisa A Igloria’s “Instructions for calling the soul back to the body” and Dave Bonta’s “Idealist.”

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