On An Afternoon Boil

NIKA KAISER

My mother always wandered around the house in the summers barefoot and doors open, a salt shaker in one hand and eating an egg. There’d be times where I didn’t see her eat anything else for days. She was like that, and so am I. Whenever I get the inclination to boil eggs I feel more my mother than any other time. Barefoot in a white t-shirt and I’m talking to myself in front of the stove. I watch the water kick and roil and I never know how long to leave them in for. I burn my fingertips peeling the first one from the pot. Lately I’ve been getting around on this feeling in which I understand I am never actually alone. I’m feeling them very much with me and in pieces of me, my mother and my grandmothers, in everything I do. I cut the edges of a tomato so as not to waste any near the stem. I mix my black coffee with a teaspoon. I speak to the trees while I walk to the corner store. It’s fall here now and everyone is talking in quick words on how the air is changing. I’m feeling something else these days and I don’t have words for it. I get overwhelmed easily and I go downstairs and put water on to boil. I think about my new story and wonder how my mother might feel about all the things I say in it. There never seems to be enough time for all the people I want to be in this life. And I wonder if anyone else enjoys being themselves as much as I do. In the afternoon I write long prose poems about wandering through the desert to find the last place I buried someone, I do that and I eat hard boiled eggs.