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Last week, when I told the boys we were going to see Dr. P, they were confused.

"My old neurosurgeon?" Caleb asked.

"That stuffed bear with scrubs and a mask?" Micah gaped.

After clarifying that - no, I meant the human Dr. P and no, nothing was wrong - they became curious.

"Even though the surgeries were a long time ago, Caleb's spine has endured a lot of trauma. The doctors just want to make sure everything looks ok," I explained.

Later, as we sat in the waiting room, Caleb brimmed with questions. Are they going to make me change into a robe? Will I have to have a shot? Do you think Dr. P will recognize me? How much is this going to hurt?

"How much is this going to hurt?" Now there's a familiar question. It always comes to me in moments of vulnerability, when I stumble upon reminders of my own helplessness.

A sick child. A job loss. A global pandemic. As C.S. says, I'm not necessarily doubting God will do the best for me but I am wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. Control, with all its pretty lies, feels solid. Reminders of dependence feel exposing.

This poem is about such a reminder.

Actually, it's about a bird. She was the worst; always dive-bombing the children, always pooping on the window. Every spring, she would build a nest above our back door. Every spring, I would knock it down.

Once I installed "swallow spikes," she seemed defeated. She built a nest in a new eave but the wind got the better of her. It wasn't long before I was sweeping up broken eggs and feeling just a little bit guilty.

Lately, I've been sharing stories of broken things. My body. My baby boy. Peace.

This poem continues the story. It's about broken eggs and our broken myths of control.

It's about what it's like to give our hearts to breakable things.


Life is a robin’s egg,

tiny and speckled

the color of sky

but fragile, so fragile.

Paper-thin wrapping

around growing souls.

So easily I confuse it

for stone,

grow sure in its granite,

its heft in my hand.

But a summer storm scrambles

my myth of control

and I kneel near the tree

to collect sticky remnants

of sky-colored shell

while the mama bird

sings overhead, enraged.

Fragile, so very fragile.

I scowl up at her blunder.

How could she clothe

the work of her life

in a porcelain case?

Didn’t she know it was

fragile, so very fragile?

She won’t have it though –

my displaced guilt –

and scolds like only a mother can.

I know, I sigh. I know

as I reach for cyan china

and toss it to the wind.

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