I want to tell you how I found a clock
hidden by a quail egg

& slowly, shaking, lifted it toward light
to see the life inside it shift

like underwater smoke. But before I could
my father’s rifle shattered silence

& sent the swallows weaving through
a storm cloud.

Perhaps I’m only half
retelling the truth around the egg

& how the light was not light
but the brooding dark that gathered

over homes with chimneys
& erased, as it will, the trees, & if not the trees

the creek that gave us koi to catch
if one was willing to surface.

So few that if I swam its depths
I’d catch a single fin of copper flash

& follow where a culvert cut the field
& spilled into a graveyard.

I held my father’s hand there once
& gazed into a hole in the earth.

He was weeping while he cleaned a gun
& squinted so his sight

could travel the barrel with a quartered
rag & wipe away residue.

This before the sick that ate his blood
& turned him to a shadow.

Before his boy would lift an egg to look
for life & find inside a single spider

wrapped in human hair. When he
died I watched my sister curl into herself

& whisper his name again & again,
as if time could too be stopped by voice

& the rain reversed. Denial the root
of decay.