Marvin Lurie

Earl Jr.‘s New Machine

We liked to watch Earl Whitman candle eggs,
two skinny boys
tired of summer sun
allowed to sit in his cool stone cellar
as long as we were quiet.
He bent over his home made tin and light bulb candler,
the cords on the back of his hands
pulling his fingers back and forth
on a fixed path
from wire baskets to candler to egg cartons
one egg at a time
without ever hesitating or slowing down.

This morning I stopped at the Whitman Food Market.
Earl, Jr. (except he's dropped the Jr.)
took me in back to see his new machine,
as big as a pool table,
that grades and sorts eggs.
He said that with almost 500 hens
it's what he needs to keep up.
He keeps his Dad's tin candler on his desk, he said.
When worries about so many chickens get too heavy,
it relaxes him to turn it over in his hands.


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