Angela Allen

Dating a Dutch Scientist

When you walk me to my car
the distance we cover is vast,
so immense that I take you
to another globe,
a cold one, countless epochs
from the sun’s core,
a place where the days
are short—maybe there are no days—
where the North Sea pounds darkly
and collapses into blackness,
where there is too little brightness
for you to watch the crescent smile spread
across my face, to hear the measure
where the cello comes in
and signals the three notches
of Orion’s belt,
not yet the entire orchestra
of shapely stars
that shifts as we shift and drive
off, you in your car, I in mine,
re-enter the damp past,
still attached, and to wonder
when our world will warm up?

Gold in the Mouth

Among foodies and four wines, we marvel
as the quail egg bubbles in its sabayon bath
with unalloyed luster, joke fondly
that, of course, such food
was not to his taste, not for my father
who ate an ordinary sort of egg,
boiled precisely three minutes—
his sole culinary deed,
his meager breakfast day after day,
a ceremony sure as morning light.

He spooned his egg from the saucepan,
conveyed it carefully to the sink,
balancing the hot brittle weight,
and blessed it under cold water
until he could pick up the egg
between his tender thumb and forefinger,
lift it gingerly and place it daintily
in the cracked blue cup.
He tapped its brown shell, sliced its tip with a dull knife,
wove his spoon through the egg-white quilt,
spilled its yolk, salted—and ate.

My mother tried to cut him off—cholesterol.
He rose earlier each morning
while she dozed, and boiled one, another:
gold to his mouth.

Author Portrait

Angela Allen works as a journalist writing primarily about the arts, and in 2005 won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship with Columbia University School of Journalism to study with world-class musicians, editors, and composers. She teaches photography and creative writing, and in 2009 served as Fishtrap’s Eastern Oregon Writer-in-Residence. Her journalism and photography are published in newspapers, magazines, and online sites, and her poetry appears in scattered places, including Saturday Afternoons (Clothesline Press, 2009). In 1984, she earned an M.A. in journalism from University of Oregon, and 30 years later received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Pacific Lutheran University. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her scientist husband and often unwieldy garden.

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