Your Life’s Fortune

(Author’s Note: For those who are used to seeing only poetry here, I do an occasional “flash fiction” piece. That’s what this is…)


Exhausted, Karen couldn’t cope with the thought of cooking anything after the long day at work. She could barely muster up the energy to make her way through the crowded sidewalk leading to her train stop. She could hear the “L” approaching and hurried the final steps, not wanting to miss the last train.

Once on board, Karen exhaled. And prayed. The hard work she’s put into sealing the deal on this new client was finally coming to fruition. The terms were settled. The contracts were prepared. She would meet with her boss and the client tomorrow for final signatures. And her promotion should come soon after! Nothing was promised—but it was what she had been working toward.

Glancing out the window at the passing businesses, Karen felt the rumble of hunger in her stomach. A quick check of her watch told her she just might make it to her stop in time to pick up something to eat from her favorite Chinese carryout restaurant on the corner of her block.

Rushing off the train with a renewed energy (and sights set on Moo Shu Pork), Karen made it just in time. With order in hand, she walked past the row of Brownstones. Finally home, she leaned against the counter and reached inside the bag, feeling for the familiar wrapper of the cookie which she always ate first.

fortuneBreaking the cookie in two, popping one half in her mouth, Karen pulled the fortune from the other half. One side taught her the Chinese word for “family”. Looking around her flat, she sighed at the emptiness that surrounded her. Slowly, she flipped the paper over to read, “All your hard work will soon be paid off.”

Thinking about her life’s fortune, she penned the following poem:

(a shadorma)

I am, in some things.
In others,
not so much.
I suppose that’s just the way
the cookie crumbles.


Written for Flashy Fiction Fridays

The Simple Life



It seemed so simple then,
the days of early youth.
Nothing more to worry about than
making sure my toys were put away.
Of course there were endless
chores on the farm, but it was a part of life.

Life changed, though,
when our family fractured.
While I was really still a kid, the simple
became much more complex.
Responsibilities shifted, my age
became greater than my years;

independence became my life ring and
self-sufficiency, my anchor. Later,
anonymity of city-life, my sustenance;
the business of busyness, my companion.
Decades of responsibility brought
another shift, to a different kind of focus.

It’s simple: life doesn’t have to be
as complicated as I’ve made it.
The stuff that surrounds me is not
what is important—the people are; and
making time to play and doing your chores
is as complex as it needs to be.

P. Wanken


Written for Poetic Asides April Poem-A-Day Challenge #22: Complex and for Poetic Bloomings Prompt #104: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun. Posted for day 51 in 100 Days of Spring – 2013.