Fortune Cookies

Here’s a woman hired to write proverbs
Must be creative, inspired, concise
he who climbs a ladder begins at the first step

Perhaps her name is Jin Cheng
Perhaps she works for Wonton Foods in Brooklyn
Producing five million fortunes a day

Random choices from a database printed and shipped
Placed on a circular slice of hot flat dough, shaped over
A steel rod to form the familiar crescent moon

That arrives with the bill you receive tonight at
Shen Wong Palace
plan your work and work your plan

The most anticipated part of the meal of gluey chow mien and
Greasy kung pao chicken
make a wise choice each day

Hands grab cookies, ignore orange slices
Discovering their future in Delphic crumbs
the object of your desire moves closer

Jin Cheng finds her muse on subway signs
Horoscopes, magazines, graffiti
patience is the key to joy

shopping lists fluttering from grocery carts,
creating upbeat slogans to lighten the lives of strangers
you will have a pleasant surprise

Attached to my refrigerator with a red magnet:
soon you will come into money
I head out to buy a computer on my Visa card

The MacBook air I covet or perhaps a MacBook Pro
Knowing I will be able to pay with future dollars
Guaranteed by a slip of paper folded in a cookie

So I bow to you, Jin Cheng toiling into the night
Under light from a pale lamp
Finding just the right fortune for me