Two Poems by Diana Raab

Fortune Cookie

Each Sunday evening, in suburban New York,
we eat at the corner Chinese:
its fish tank hypnotic, the smiling

welcome from the Chinese woman
pressing menus to her chest,
who leads us to the booth with the vinyl seats.

They stick to my legs as I slide
across to my designated spot. Dad promises
me a fortune cookie on the way out;

from the bowl by the door.
We eat spareribs, lick our fingers
and laugh, try to pick rice kernels

and slippery noodles with splintered
chopsticks. We praise the food,
but wonder why we often leave hungry

for food and fortune. After extracting
mine from the smashed cookie, I put
the crumbled paper in my pocket,

and find it weeks later, hoping somehow
the words change
and the little paper whispers

truths about my own future,
which never told me dad would die
before my daughters’ wedding.

“Fortune Cookie” first appeared in Blood and Bourbon (2021).


When I stop to think
of the many ways a man seduces
a woman,

I see it transcends to hey haven’t I seen
you before, or deep shines
in sultry eye contact.

Like yesterday at Kennedy airport
where my sexy limo driver insists
on being my chauffeur
for my one week in his big apple.

How nice: a warm welcome into the city
of my childhood, I think.

His seemingly foreign kindness
might have captured the insecure girl in me,
not the confident woman I’ve become.

Years earlier I might have
accepted this invite
or even an invite to his place,

but now, after child-bearing years
and many surgeries and pains
of ill-meaning lovers, I shudder when

I spot a copy of Maxim
pursed into the back seat pocket, followed
by his piercing glance in the rearview mirror.

I toss a brazen glance at the woman on its cover—
forty years my junior, still porting her own
breasts nestled between two proud shoulders,
while mine are fabricated on the ruins of breast cancer.

In disgust, I turn and look the other way.

“Seduction” first appeared in Superpresent Magazine (December 2021).

Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and author of 13 books. Her new poetry chapbook is, An Imaginary Affair: Poems Whispered to Neruda (Finishing Line Press, 2022). She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, Good Men Project, and The Wisdom Daily. Visit:

“Left hand bottom corner” by Liz Bennett

2022 Pushcart Prize Nominee

2022 Best of the Net Nominee

The woman with one breast, her hand on mouse
Click-clicks through photographs of better times
Sunglasses caked with sand pushed back on head
At tables with her girlfriends, glass aloft
Arms round her children, husband by her side.
She looks at her own eyes, centre of frame
Her makeup covering complacency
The smile of one by lightning never struck.
Then – click! – a picture, seemingly mundane
Brings her to sudden, unexpected tears
A park, a birthday party for a child
She stands side-on, in bottom left of frame
Her presence incidental to the shot
She leans towards a friend, as if mid-joke
Her out-of-focus smile is unconstrained
By habit or thought of posterity
Oblivious to the photographer
True self-oblivion appears achieved.
The notion that, when captured unawares
She would be seen with joy upon her face
Seems from a time almost beyond recall
A shadow-less existence lost for good.
And then she understands that to regain
The spirit which is captured edge of frame
She must not live as if her life’s a book
She can’t proceed with ’till she has a chance
To peek at the last page, see how it ends
That true embrace of living cannot be
Contingent on an answer that’s unknown
That early death must also be embraced
If that is how her story is to close
And if transcendence is to be attained –
To capture once again that blurry laugh –
Her daily quest, with her one breast, must be
To live as if not in the photograph.

Liz Bennett works as a mediator in the remote tropical city of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. She was a finalist in the 2019 NT Literary Awards, placed in the 2012 Australian Cancer Council Arts Awards, and has had poetry and other writing published or upcoming in Not Very Quiet, be:longing, Stereo Stories, Spineless Wonders, Lighten Up Online, and in the anthology Imagining the Real: Australian Writing in the Nuclear Age (ABC Enterprises). Find her on Instagram @liz_janebennett.