Short and sort of defeated even then,


the father of our grade’s only twins

came to class to talk egg production,


proud of his farm filling carton after carton.


He showed us a movie where eggs flowed

on a conveyor belt, illumined for a moment


from behind, dwarf stars with amorphous hearts.


If a chick curled like a carving in a Gothic church

was revealed, or a blood spot, or a blank space


where the clean yolk should have shone, the egg


was removed by workers wearing white cotton gloves.

None of us guessed how hard the years would be—


one twin slipping in the long sleep of overdose


and all our youth fading as soon as it flared.

In the classroom, though, the windows


are cranked out to catch May breath.


The room is dark. We anticipate.

Hair already grey, hands nervous and sincere,


he starts the VCR. Both his boys live,


grave hazel eyes green-flecked and often lit

with a smile they don’t have to show to share.

Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford lives in Roanoke, Virginia, where she is a teacher at Virginia Western Community College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Appalachian HeritageThe Comstock ReviewCold Mountain ReviewThe Chattahoochee ReviewWaccamawThe Normal SchoolTar River PoetryBluestem, and Town Creek Poetry, among others.