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:

“My Lost City” by Diana Raab

(After “Oh My Lost City” by Pablo Naruda)

New York, the place of my birth,
Still hear Streisand’s words of glory—
the city that never sleeps,
even for me as a teen
who slept under stars
with sexy boyfriends and cars.

Each Sunday visited
Rockefeller Center
where dad taught ice skating
they called him Mr. Mark—
unable to pronounce his long last name—
Marquise—invented after immigration
from some French ancestors
which is maybe why I love croissants, espresso,

chestnuts and steamy nuts from street vendors.
I left before I could drive,
but now want to revisit my roots, especially
with dad gone and the city changed faces
more times than I can count.

Queens was my place, Cunningham Park
where hippies puffed joints and concerts
permeated lively words with numbered streets
and houses in rows like soldiers, only colors
setting them apart, one hundred and seventy-third street—
oh the pink shingles dad pained when I was born
to match his pink impala—
the kid mother never wanted, but dad cherished.

She planted a cherry blossom tree
in keeping with theme,
her green thumb also holding the reins of her
favorite four-legged equine partner,
always more important than me.
She’s still there, waiting to die
but never dying to live
I only wish her well— planted
in the city I used to call my own.

Diana Raab, Ph.D., is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, author of 10 books, and contributor to numerous journals and anthologies. Her two latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Her poetry chapbook, An Imaginary Affair, is forthcoming in July 2022 with Finishing Line Press. She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, Good Men Project, and The Wisdom Daily, and is a frequent guest blogger for various other sites.