Peter E. Murphy
The Free Market
The Egg Lady gave birth to an egg.
The Chicken Lady gave birth to a chicken.
Although they worked in different parts
of the same industry, neither recalled
knowing the other. And, in case you’re
wondering, it doesn’t matter which came first.
What matters is that the young egg
and the young chicken became friends.
The egg wasn’t good at getting around,
so the chicken carried it within her.
The chicken wasn’t good at staying still,
so she sat on the egg and was calmed.
When the Shop Man gave birth to a shop,
he invited the chicken and the egg to move in.
Believe me, he said, You can trust me.
Believe me, he said, It’s going to be great.
The Shop Man gave them space on a shelf
where the customers could see them.
Soon the chicken and the egg disappeared,
replaced by another chicken and another egg.
And on. And on.
Some people didn’t notice.
Some people noticed and didn’t mind.
Some people noticed and protested.
I don’t know what the big deal is, said the shop
owner. I am running a business. I am a for-profit
business. I am not hiding from that.
And that was that.
Peter E. Murphy is the author of Stubborn Child, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Challenges for the Delusional, a book of writing prompts, and four poetry chapbooks. His recent essays and poems appear in The Common, Diode, Guernica, Hawaii Pacific Review, The New Welsh Reader, Rattle, Word Riot and elsewhere. He is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University. www.peteremurphy.com