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On Teaching My Son to Hard Boil Eggs

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Permit two eggs to recline
in cold water, I say. Cover
their pale ovals, as china-fine
and fragile as a mind. Fire
the gas on high and boil.
He wants to know how long,
precisely, it will take
the water to reach its song
of plops and crackles, wreak
havoc on the viscous liquid
innards, insists on setting
the timer–he’s that kind of kid,
who I tell my shopping
list to keep from forgetting. “Just
watch.” And he does, because he must.

 

Note: “Permit two eggs to recline” comes from Marcel Duchamp’s recipe for Steak Tartare in The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook. The original line is “permit two egg yolks to recline.”