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A Basket of Eggs

by Steven Cramer

The rill of blood from rib to thigh; tendons
stretched taut, gravity’s ache straining through;
flesh the weathered ochre of exhumed bone—
Brunelleschi’s Christ shook Donatello so,

he dropped his basket of eggs. Eras later,
outside Santa Maria Novella,
a nursing mother’s breast turned sootier
with each step we took, her day’s pool of lira

collecting in her skirt-lap, flies on the orbits
of her infant’s eyes. Sights from a honeymoon,
reposited in memory—like our coin
after coin to light the angels, saints, lunettes—

along with the noise of Christ, eggs, soot, flies,
and the wing-brush of skirts across stone floors.


Steven Cramer’s fourth poetry collection, Goodbye to the Orchard, is due out from Sarabande in October. His other three are Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (Brookline Books, 1997), The World Book (Copper Beach, 1992), and The Eye that Desires to Look Upward (1987). A recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he currently directs the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (4/2004)

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