On the Hearth of the Broken Home

Slowly fitting my pinky-tip down
into the wild eggshell fallen
from inside the chimney, I feel as if I'm like
a teenage boy in love, allowed
into the beloved's body, like my father
with the girl he loved, who loved him. If he
had married her . . . I lift it up
close to my eye, the coracle dome
hung with ashes, rivered with flicks
of chint, robes of the unknown–only
a sojourner, in our home, where love
was sparrow-netted to make its own
cage, jessed with its jesses, limed
with its radiant lime. And above the tiny
tossed-off cloak of the swift, in the deep
reaches of the old dutch oven, on a bed
of sprung traps, the mice in them
long gone to meltdown, and to maggotmeal,
and wet dust, and dry dust,
there lies another topped shell, smaller,
next to it its doffed skull
tressed with spinneret sludge, speckled with
flue-mash flecks, or the morse of a species,
when I lift it up, its yolk drops out, hard
amber, light coming through it, fringed
in a tonsure of mold and soot. If I ever
dreamed, as a child, of everlasting
love, these were its shoes: one dew-licked
kicked-off slipper of a being now flying, one
sunrise-milk-green boot of the dead,
which I wore, as I dreamed.

Sharon Olds, Stag's Leap, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.