Deviled Eggs

February, 2022

The Russian figure skaters win another gold,
as we roll up our sleeves for a gathering, news
from snowy Beijing and tank-rutted Ukraine
drowned by boiling water and a beeping timer.
I rinse, peel and halve eggs, scooping out yolks
you mash with mustard, mayo, salt & pepper.  
Some people call them Russian eggs, I say.
Who calls them that? you ask with a squint.
The Europeans, but I don’t really know. Russia
has no national team, yet their skaters loop
and leap like mercury over polished glass, panting
under scores, winning back their hearts   
as you refill white cavities with bright medallions
and I unscrew a sticky red jar of paprika.  Friends
from Ukraine will be arriving in an hour.  Googling
their medals for conversation—only one silver
in freestyle skiing—I down a shot of vodka and see
that a borderland kindergarten has been shelled.  
And the Devil, you ask. Where does that come from?

***

Henry Hughes‘ newest poems appear in Queen’s QuarterlyNorth American Review and Painted Bride Quarterly. He is the author of four poetry collections, including Men Holding Eggs, which received the Oregon Book Award. Hughes is a regular book reviewer for Harvard Review.

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