Kitchen in April

Little sister listens,
solemn, to my tap
of egg on silver-lipped bowl.
It cracks the way ice does,
lined as the palm of my hand.
Just beneath the shards of white:
filmy membrane, milk-colored.
Stretches and tears
like a mother
to release the golden yolk.
Never knew it was there,
slick as frogskin.
Never knew how easy
it is to cut into something:
in the grade school science lab,
scalpel and blue
rubber gloves.
Organs like glass beads
glowing in a veil of formaldehyde.
I’m baking lemon cake for my mother.
She loves the tingle
on her tongue, sharp smell
of furniture polish.
Glassy wood of her first bedroom set,
and I, nestled haploid within
like so many white orbs
in pink styrofoam.
The whites drip over my fingers
like spit or tears or breaking water.
I can feel their aching,
as I ached each month
at thirteen, my body so empty
it poured itself out.
My sister holds the bowl
in her bugbitten arms
as I scrape batter into the pan
with its grease-glow.
She, yolk-gold, sun-gold,
our small bright thing. Strawberry
freckle on her nose.
The year my mother birthed her
was the year I learned
of the eggs inside me.
Little halves of would-be daughters,
girls before they’re touched.
Mama taught me their genesis,
growing like grapes within me
while I was within her.
How baby sister,
small enough to shatter,
carries them, too,
in her soft pink abdomen:
womb within womb, echo of blood.