by Linda Parsons

The airy headroom, where the egg flattens,
that’s where you begin. A tug as the frail

shelter gives, pastel dye stains the map of thumb
and forefinger. Beginning is the hardest, not

piercing the white mantle, though a lip clings
to the shell, the bloom of outermost coating,

and ruins the perfect oval. So many ruins—
the long night limping uneven roads to Samaria,

the morning after, even as the stone rolls
away in wonder and exclamation, our eyes

shielded to day’s cold light. The membrane
next, shed like stepping out of a slip, like so much

we slip past and into, never meaning pain
or death, practicing compassion on our floor

cushion or in the buffalo grass. It comes
down to the rich middle you always believed

was present, brilliant eye in the eggy cup,
the center yoked somehow to faith

in and of mercy, that magnificent yellow,
true color of forgiveness, that small peep

of joy rising whether you deserve it or not.


LINDA PARSONS is a poet and playwright and an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, a supporting editor of New Millennium Writings, and has contributed to The Georgia ReviewIowa ReviewPrairie SchoonerSouthern Poetry ReviewThe Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and her newest endeavor is writing for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre.


Featured Image: “The Cross” by Rene Yoshi