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Jade Ramsey

Learn to love loneliness, / he writes in red.

The Unfortunate Cookie

In a small Chinese village an old man writes
what he wishes would happen,
and sends his dreams
to the fortune cookie factory
that pays for his "wisdom."
But today he decides to jot down the truth:
Learn to love loneliness,
he writes in red.
In the fortune cookie factory, a young woman
folds dough over small pieces of paper.
Though she usually averts her eyes
from the fortunes of others,
today she glimpses the red fate
to be folded, cooked, and confirmed as destiny.
What she reads hurts her so
deeply, she cannot allow it to be
someone else's future.
She puts it in her pocket
and folds the dough over nothing.

In a small American mall, I sit eating a burrito
while my friend eats fried rice
from the fast food court -
shopping is an after-breakup outing.
Today is in her honor.
She says she wants my cinnamon twist
so I trade it for her fortune cookie.
When I break
it open, there's nothing.

Jade Ramsey graduated in 2008 from Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing. She is currently earning an M.F.A in poetry from Bowling Green State University.