It kept the table steady, her marbled
notebook filled with poems.
The pages go blank a few months
after I was born, when the uneven
dining room table needed righting.
There, I watched her hold her kistka
over the candle, letting it melt words
I could not then comprehend
onto the egg surface. She would tell me
what the written-wax meant: why
it was called a pysanka, from the Ukrainian
pysaty meaning “to write,” and then
she could translate the symbols, the art.
But I wasn’t listening, too captured
by the dyeing process–lowering
eggs into Mason jars full of candlelight.
I watched the oval shadows descend
into wombs of color that would leave
their stain. She used a wooden spoon
to scoop the eggs out without cracking them,
the curved wood of its half-bottom
took each one of my mother’s shades
until it was black, just glistened
as it dripped out of the jar mouth.