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Bumblebee small with downy
stubs in three days sprout barbs
stretch new stitched wings in a week

shaggy teens sway over pink
toes in six weeks the roo crows
surprised gurgle clicking frog

mounts the hens that leave eggs
spackled in mucus and blood
daily eggs big as their heads

so efficiently do quail become creators
of quail like God filling the
desert floor with quail for his

children who cried we hunger
is it hunger if it’s not
hunger but hunger for quail

don’t want their own flesh and blood
not like us incubating
till one stands damp blinking I

think we made this quail the first
time we saw our son he was
this size stumpy gummy bear

wriggling was he alone
we said he waved at us then
I started spotting brown spack-

le nights teeth clenched prayer fear prayer
metal taste for sixteen years
and forty weeks this week we

hold the bit of warm throbbing
stack of dimes when we leave it
cries alarm alone one last

egg waits heavy in the box
but I keep lifting the lid
cup freighted heat to my ear

when he fell asleep I’d drink
juice lie still panicky wake
up just kick then I hear

soft tapping cries from the shell
winter afternoons I’d walk
wetland trails alone with what

I carried lift my shirt from
the globe of my belly want-
ing him to see the shine the

glow the warmth to know see how
good we are we couldn’t bear
the wait we hadn’t followed

the rules heat humidity
control what if I’ve ruined
things with all this holding so

we break a head-sized hole blood
leaks sealed bulged eyes mottled beak
open enough to open

a little bit more call it
breath at some point we stop I
can’t say we learn but almost

Moses heard the people’s wail
for flesh Moses was troubled
he says he said I cannot

carry all these people too
heavy for me if this is
how you are going to treat

me please go ahead and kill
me if I have found favor
in your eyes for two days we

leave the opened egg to gasp
wrestle day three it falls free
then eats then shits follows the

other twice its size they peck
at each other’s feet sleep in
a shuddering heap no more

crying for us now they hold
each other run they quail when-
ever our huge hands come near



Jenny Hykes Jiang’s work has appeared in Witness, Arts & Letters, South Dakota Review, and Little Patuxent Review. An MDiv student at Kairos Seminary, she leads an English-language program for newly arrived Afghan women near Sacramento, where she lives with her husband and three sons.




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