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Poetically Yours - What's in your future?

Elena Koycheva - unsplash.com

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets, and a few from other states. Today’s featured poet is Carol Alfus.

Alfus has lived in McHenry County for most of her life, where she raised her family and taught special education. Now retired, she enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, but most of all spending time with her grandchildren. She has always loved writing, but poetry is her favorite. She said she loves the way a poem can tell a story, capture a moment, or express a range of emotions from wonder to anger, to joy, bliss and beyond.

Alfus takes her inspiration from the sublime The Night Sky, The Beauty of Nature to the ridiculous Parking Lot Gulls, Fortune Cookies as well as the deeply personal The Birth of a Grandchild, The Death of a Loved One. She belongs to a poetry group at her Unitarian Universalist church, and enjoys sharing her poems with family, friends and at various open mic nights around Woodstock.

Alfus volunteered with programs for people without housing, environmental and conservation organizations and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). This poem focuses on the desire to have something or someone to tell us something good. It’s called “Fortune Cookie.”

After the remains of the Hong Shu Chicken and
House Special Fried Rice were put in the fridge,
two cello-wrapped fortune cookies lay on the counter.

I cracked open the first,
and crunching a mouthful of vanilla-ish wafer,
read the slender slip of paper:

“You display the wonderful trait of charm and courtesy.”
Well, thanks, but I was looking for a fortune,
not a character reference.
I was hoping for some promising prognostication--
an intriguing encounter,
unexpected riches,
an exotic journey, perhaps…

Not to be denied,
I unwrapped the second cookie.
With two hands I held it aloft,
like some woo-woo priestess
beseeching the gimcrack gods of magical thinking,
broke it neatly in half,
and extracted the fortune, which read:

“Luck is coming your way.”

Positive and predictive.
Ambiguous, yet auspicious.
Now that’s more like it!

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.