Musical Egg — William Doreski

Soft-shelled, softer than a turtle’s,
it hums in a nest of rags and yarn.

You have to humble yourself
to hear it. You have to kneel

and cup an ear to catch the tune.
You’ve known it all your life.

Kate Smith, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan,
and The Chantels all recorded it.

The egg knows other tunes as well.
Now it’s humming something fresh

from Puccini, an aria
so ripe it makes big men cry.

Because you seem to want it
I would buy you this talented egg,

but soon it will hatch a monster,
a scaly thing you’d rather not

find romping in your kitchen.
Yet it throbs with the innocence

of pre-natal glory, yolk and white
having merged in a single chord—

a C major seventh from which
all lugubrious melody flows.

You look more closely and decide
this isn’t an actual egg but ball

of lint and fuzz some prankster
crafted as Easter décor.

Yet we both hear the music,
an omen of intelligent life.

Would you want to risk some archaic
fauna running amok inside

your freshly rehabbed apartment?
Let this foolish construction

smelt until the holiday’s past.
If it hasn’t hatched but still

emits pop, classical, and jazz
I’ll buy it for your birthday

when every year a few graves open
and a soundtrack seems required.


William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His poetry, essays, reviews, and fiction have appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is A Black River, A Dark Fall.