The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is:
The number 13 is often considered unlucky, so today I’d like to challenge you to beat the bad luck away with a poem inspired by fortune cookies. You could write a poem made up entirely of statements that predict the future (“You will meet a handsome stranger”), aphoristic statements (“The secret to getting ahead is getting started)” or just silly questions (“How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?”) Or you could use a phrase you’ve actually received in a real fortune cookie as a title or first line.
I eat at the Chinese restaurant at least twice a week, so I have those little cookie fortunes laying literally everywhere. I plucked a handful from my purse and used three of the most interesting to create this piece of poetry.
Superstitious, I pluck
fortunes from cookies at a
red-marble table at Peking.
I have walked exceptionally well
across city concrete, careful
of the cracks, dedicated
hourly conversations to my mother
via cellphone bills barely affordable.
The paper in the center
of the cookie says I am
creative, original, alert.
I laugh a little, my steady mind
must be a passing homage to
all the poetry I've read,
the inner world I've sketched
into as many lonely nights,
brittle hours of solitude crumbling
me into the pulp of what I am now.
I crack the sugary back of another,
a handful of slippery, golden prism
that tells me in not so many words:
I am admired for my adventurous ways.
I owe the stout metaphor of my mind
to books well-read during childhood,
the strong lineage of my dedication
to words and homespun recipes to
to my fore-mothers, the muse of
their perfect-knit sweaters and the
molasses bread that always did
rise just right on Sundays.
Everything serves to further everything.
I walk past the buffet, smiling,
and back into the slick white world
where skyline meets molten mortar,
careful of black cats in their sleek claws
as I uncross the same street I just walked.