Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Twenty-ninth Contest :: Second Place Winner

How to Boil an Egg

by Sarah Ang
Fill the saucepan with three inches of water,
Enough to envelop the egg but not enough to drown it.
I will not ask about why you came back at 3 am the night before again,
The stench of cigarette smoke surrounding you like a cloud,
Tiptoed into my room to check if I was asleep.
You will pretend you never noticed my uneven breathing,
Or the flutter of my eyelids as you close the door.
We have long mastered the art
Of forgetting what we want to.

Turn on the stove, let the tongues of flame lick the pan
Until enraged, the water boils.
Then, reduce the heat, until the water merely simmers.
I sit at the table, watching you prepare eggs for the two of us.
Lethargy is evident in your movements,
Resignation written in the curve of your spine.
And I want to rise up from the table,
Shake your shoulders, demand answers to the questions
That always remain unasked.
But I, too, am tired.
There are some things better left unsaid.

Gently lower the eggs into the water,
Allow them to ease slowly, finding their place.
Wait — 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, according to your liking.
There are various ways an egg can be boiled.
I like mine soft boiled, the yolk barely set,
A miniature sun in an ocean of white cloud.
You like yours hard boiled, firm yolk,
Stiff white, unyielding, inflexible.

After your preferred time, remove the egg from the water.
Place in an egg cup, and serve.
Boiling eggs is a relaxing process.
Cathartic, really —
You would say as you handed me the egg, still hot
An olive branch between us.

There is a science to opening a soft-boiled egg.
Press too lightly and the egg remains unbroken,
Refusing to yield its elusive contents.
Press too hard and the egg caves in on itself,
Splinters of shell marring its wholeness.
No. Just the right amount of pressure is required to
Tap around the top of the shell,
Slicing through wafer-thin membrane with a knife,
To reveal the enigma underneath.

About the Author
Sarah is a seventeen-year-old student residing in the city-state of Singapore. A professional daydreamer, she often spends time staring off into the distance at nothing in particular. For her, writing is a way to transcribe these reveries into rational thought. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Claremont Review, Page & Spine, Cultured Vultures and Swaglit, as well as recognized by awards including the Iggy and Litro Young Writer’s Prize, the Ledbury Poetry Competition, and the International Torrance Creative Writing Awards.
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