The Egg Man • Cynthia Gallaher

Two over easy
are easy for the egg man,
his fingertips buttered,
his steel pans flashing,
between the four blue jets
that cruise with him
through early morning hours.

“You’ve got nice huevos,” says his wife.
“And potent ones, too,” he adds,
counting his eight children.
He holds four eggs in each hand,
cracks one after another
into a hot pan,
without dropping any shells.

The restaurant wants to put
the egg man in the dining room,
moving with a burner and a pan
and his nimble fingers
from table to table,
entertaining customers.
“You might even consider
juggling them before cooking,’
says his boss,
‘You drop one or two, so what?
Eggs are cheap!”

“But I’m not,” says the egg man.
His scrambled eggs and poached eggs
and sunnyside-up eggs
always perfect and ready to
slide on the plate,
after the toast man
hands it to the meat man
who hands it to the egg man
who puts it up for the waitress
to carry away hot and tasty.

It’s Saturday, high noon and
breakfast is over,
the egg man goes home
to his wife,
half the kids are napping
after a noisy morning of cartoons,
half the kids are at the park,
sliding into home,
the egg man crawls
into bed with his wife.
He holds two huevos in his hand,
“These baby,’ he says,
‘are all for you.”


Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and writer, is author of three books and a creative writing workshop leader in libraries, schools and arts centers. She is on the Chicago Public Library’s list of “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets” and tweets about food and poetry at