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
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: www.dianaraab.com.