The egg I came from
was mottled brown and green
like my false sisters’.
Our mother paints them
blue, or stony gray,
whatever matches. But we
hatch first.

Strange, how she gives us
her commands:
as the naked others
flopped beside their broken shells
I got my back up underneath
and heaved them out.

Sometimes she lays us in the nests
of humans: wizened changelings
who cry and cry for food
and never fatten.
But canny foster-parents
boil no more porridge for them
than an egg-shell holds. Until our mother
fetches back her own.

I am well fed, an only child.
My feather cloak is almost finished,
the dark gray primaries,
seductive breast plumes. Already
I do her work: a young husband
hurrying home
through springtime woods, and I
deep in elder blossoms, calling
like a bird.