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Egg by C.G. Hanzlicek

C.G. Hanzlicek

I’m scrambling an egg for my daughter.
“Why are you always whistling?” she asks.
“Because I’m happy.”
And it’s true,
Though it stuns me to say it aloud;
There was a time when I wouldn’t
Have seen it as my future.
It’s partly a matter
Of who is there to eat the egg:
The self fallen out of love with itself
Through the tedium of familiarity,
Or this little self,
So curious, so hungry,
Who emerged from the woman I love,
A woman who loves me in a way
I’ve come to think I deserve,
Now that it arrives from outside me.
Everything changes, we’re told,
And now the changes are everywhere:
The house with its morning light
That fills me like a revelation,
The yard with its trees
That cast a bit more shade each summer,
The love of a woman
That both is and isn’t confounding,
And the love
Of this clamor of questions at my waist.
Clamor of questions,
You clamor of answers,
Here’s your egg.


I have a habit of thinking aloud. Well—more like talking to myself, perhaps. But naming things into existence all the same. For example: things will be okay. For example: this too shall pass. For example: I am not dead yet.

I didn’t expect to be deliriously happy. I thought moments like these would be few and far between. I thought happiness was a dress I’d already tried on and didn’t fit. But I was wrong. Wildly, feverishly wrong. It did fit, and the dress has pockets, and I know, I know, it doesn’t make all sense now—but do you know what I mean?

Here, let me show you who emerged from the person I love: myself, exactly how I am. A bit worn out, and might need some stitching at the seams, but yes, all me. Yes, there will be dark days, and yes there’s still pain. Yes, there’ll be crying and eating my feelings in chocolate. But there’ll be dancing, too. Because I’m happy. Because I love you. Because I’m in my kitchen making breakfast and celebrating the fact that I am alive to make breakfast. Because you love me.


This poem appeared in Against Dreaming: Poems by C.G. Hanzlicek, published by University of Missouri Press, 1994. Shared here with profound gratitude.


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Comments (2)

  • I too never expected to be happy. But along the way, I am increasingly aware that happiness is a choice. As the poem says, choosing happiness and a deep pleasure in the ordinary can be enlivened by external circumstances. But even when things go well on the outside, you must choose it.


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