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 lives in Roanoke, Virginia, where she is a teacher at Virginia Western Community College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Appalachian Heritage, The Comstock Review, Cold Mountain Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Waccamaw, The Normal School, Tar River Poetry, Bluestem, and Town Creek Poetry, among others.