Two Poems

Fortune Cookies

When I discovered fortune cookies,
my addiction blossomed.
Little messages revive me:

You are a goddess with great genes.
Mini dress; maxi success.
You will prosper eventually.

A girl needs affirmations
as much as a five-year plan.

At a wedding reception, I opened
forty cookies—how could I
resist a search for my perfect fate.

Call me a cookie shucker,
a dame who leaves a trail of debris, then
sweeps sayings into her pocket.

Workers in the fortune cookie factory,
please rise for a round of applause.

You infuse my dessert with faith.
Next cookie, I’ll look for:
Congratulations, you have won the moon.

No Shoulder and Other Positive Signs

My right arm angles useless on my chest,
far from its appointed home—my shoulder
jolted out of the socket
after my awful fall from a gargantuan rock.
Was I falling before I fell? In the ER,
an orthopedic physician—on call—snaps
my body part back into place. I am an authority
on the pain of reconnection.

I visualize my doctor healing
other facets of my life, where I sense
a dislocation. A single man wedded to his work,
he solders me to a new career, whips
my bank book into shape. Our eyes meet,
an electric gaze beneath fluorescent lights. We fall
in love—mad poet, mad medic.
Both of us refuse to snap out of it.

—Shirley Brewer, Baltimore, MD