Maegan Gonzales


my grandmother saved eggshells all year long
I would watch her stand at the kitchen sink
glass hummingbirds hanging in the window
rainbowing her clothes
butter already sizzling in the pan
she gently tapped the top of the egg
with the end of a metal spoon
until we heard the small crack of the shell
and she’d tap again
careful not to break the whole thing

this must be what it’s like from the inside, too
I thought and imagined little chicks
beaking their way to breathe outside their egg
if they’d been allowed, but my nana
a mother on the outside
would set the spoon down
tap at the egg again with a fake fingernail
peel at the bits of fissured shell parts
until there was an opening just big enough
about the size of a penny, she’d say
as she coaxed the yolk out of the egg
by turning it upside down over the pan

I would rinse the insides of each fragile shell
with Texas winter water, lukewarm in the pipe
set them back in their seafoam cartons to dry
stack them with the others in the den
dozens of cartons and hollowed-out eggs
huddled close and waiting for fiesta season
when we’d pull them out and gather
fill them with homemade confetti
colored paper and glitter and glue
to bandage their penny-sized wounds
with a square of pale tissue paper

my fingers would trace the circle
still visible through the small square
I ached to squeeze the eggs
wished to break them in my palms
but I set each in a carton to dry
and sat on my hands
imagined the cartons all spilling
confetti glittering the linoleum
and my grandmother’s voice
ay, mija, look what you’ve done