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In Albumen, In Pixels, In Bricks (poem) - Doireann Ní Ghríofa - Ireland - Poetry International

 
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In Albumen, In Pixels, In Bricks
I

In pregnancy, a woman carries
a baby’s ovaries like little fists

on fallopian wrists; inside each handful,
a million oocyte cells, microscopic pips.

In this, a mother is the eggshell
that carries her descendants.



II

Two weeks before Christmas, I am holding
a string of silver tinsel when the phone rings.
The landlord wants our home for his son.
I drop the tinsel. He gives us a month.

On supermarket shelves,
my fingers hover over freckled eggs
nestled in cardboard.
Within each shell,

chalazae threads, lustrous
filaments that grip each membrane
to its yellow orb, lifting each yoke
up, to hold it steady in a liquid glut.


III

I search websites for houses to rent
but everything is too expensive.
I distract myself with old photos instead,
clicking
              Evicted family at Glenbeigh, 1888
to find a shattered cabin, a man, a woman,
four barefoot children. I peer at the girl’s
hands, but can’t quite discern what she holds,
a pale apron, perhaps, or a fistful of wool.
Her hand exists only in pixels now, this girl
who arrives by retina and optic nerve
to live a while in my mind. I realise,
then, what she holds in her hand.
I recognise its freckled skin.
I know its cargo of liquid, its chalazae grip.
I know the gold that floats within.