Caroline Hardaker's poem "Dream #14: The Egg" appears in issue forty-five of Neon Literary Magazine.

Previously published in Lungs.

In my dream I boiled an egg
to relive a childhood pleasure, to dip in –
but there were so many other
chores to do in that moment.
Packing my bags, dusting away
a matrix of web, and my kitchen
had stretched to a banquet hall – candle lit
and murky with my father’s antediluvian wares.
So full-up with my multi-tasking was I,
that the egg was forgotten and it stewed in its broth,
bone dry.
Undeterred, I stored it for tomorrow’s
brunch, a protein hit, and lay another one to boil.
But – I didn’t reset the timer
and spent too many minutes doing the math
between the time I started and when I lapsed
and adding up the spiders still mapping
the floor like unstable constellations
so I forgot the time I started at,
and on investigation the egg had cracked
and was oozing out a galaxy, a vortex of clouds.
Yet again, I settled to make another,
but the room flickered dark and contracted
to the tunnel of a ghost train – the black flanked
by my husband, my mother… Both decreeing
that they decide my dinner
and I’m breathing in wisps,
surrounded by clusters of grotesquely spoiled eggs
all peppered by stratums of dust.
And then I wake.


Caroline Hardaker lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne with her husband, a giant cat, a betta fish with attitude, and a forest of houseplants. Her poetry has been published widely, most recently or forthcoming by Magma, The Emma Press, and Lungs Magazine. Her debut chapbook Bone Ovation was published by Valley Press in October 2017.

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