Phil Shils


I'm not writing about
embryonic cannibalism.
I'm writing about eggs because
my children are eating them.
Egg toxicity: The taking on
of too much albumen.
The overeating of omelets.
I was an egg. You were an orgasm.
Twelve jokes in two rows.
Each egg released a laughing yolk
that broke with a guffaw. The sizzle
of the crowd. The clatter of a fork.
Eating something that
could have been something more.
No regrets. Just growing larger.
Stronger. Chewing. Breathing.
An egg a crab an iguana a turtle.
Piles of eggs cocooned in dunes far
from the waves. Eggs are antithetical
to undulation. Impervious to water but
amenable to air. Investments. Things
that become husks if abandoned in
trees. Things that bad boys are tempted
to throw. Cartons and accounts.
Fifty eggs in one basket. Her finite
amount of eggs. The cold regard
a shark has for an egg.
The egg as traffic cone.
A puddle of broken eggs
on the pavement.
The unchewable shell.
It's uncookability.
The dialectic of the
contained and the container.
I shall indulge in the
bourgeois largesse of eggs.
The surprise of an egg in an
unexpected place: a sidewalk,
a carseat, a dog bowl. The places
you should see eggs: a furrow,
the anatomical snuff box.
An imperfect egg?
My mother taught me to always open
the box to inspect the eggs as though
I were about to shoplift.
A nest full of closed mouths.
The opposite of an egg
is also an egg.

Phil Shils is a physician assistant living in Decatur, Illinois. He has poetry published or forthcoming in Rattle, Sixth Finch, 2River View, Metazen, and others. A chapbook about life with his disabled daughter is online at Right Hand Pointing with an expanded print version available in late March. More information and links to his published poems at

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