William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Egg Crate

A sailor on my mother’s hip,
sailing in the mother ship,
through the kitchen,
down the hall —

I was that many years old.
Now she’s gone — or so I’m told.

She didn’t like our old blue boat. I remember once her calling it an egg crate. I loved the term. A faded wooden vessel twelve feet long, with bright-white eggs several deep packed in tightly all around, and only a tiny place for our feet — rocking by the shore, how could we get in and out without breaking them? Or maybe it was just the smell of bait, and what it did to our hands and clothes, the sticky jars of salmon eggs, the fish hooks, and the snake-bite kit in my father’s tackle box. She loved the mountains. She loved walking by the lake. On the water, she was the mother of three boys wearing life-jackets, not a decent swimmer among them. She was the wife of a tired man who had temporarily caught up with his work and was able to leave his vineyard behind while the grapes turned ripe and finished their journey in the sun. After one such trip, when the week ended and it was time to go home, the brakes went out on the old pickup. Down the mountain we crept, in first gear, my father at the helm. No eggs were broken, no bones. And that’s all I remember of the old Dodge. Drab and dusty — it had no color. My father cleaned the trout.


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Categories: Daybook

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