Between the Lines

Fortune Cookie

My wife and I leave
The Mandarin House
Feeling happy and full.

We walk to our car
Behind the restaurant
As two old women

Scrounge for food
In the dumpster.
The manager yells

At them to leave.
We have nothing
To give them,

No egg roll or soup,
No sesame chicken,
No shrimp and broccoli.

The manager drives off.
The women hunt for food.
We take them inside,

Buy them dinner.
They are the happiness
The cookie predicted.



Dorothy, First Wife

I told William I did not want to go.
He told me I must, it was my duty.
He bade me remember Moses' wife,
Who made no such complaint.
I therefore acceded to his wishes.
However, I did not fancy this voyage
To a savage wilderness that bore,
Despite William’s protestations,
So bleak a prospect as we approached it.
Did I fall in Provincetown Harbor
On accident? Let me just say
I was not pushed. Consider William
Who, in his account of Plymouth Plantation,
Relates the story of the “lustie yonge man”
That survived a fall by holding on
To the ship’s rigging. This man went on,
William says, to become a profitable member
In church and in commonwealth.
Consider further that William does not
Tell one story about me.
I was not worthy even of mention.



Listening to the Volcano

Some take no comfort
In the return
Of wolves to Yellowstone.

Some would shoot them
On sight, finding them
A luxury they can’t afford.

Let them be, I say.
Let them roam. We need
Their point of view,

Their voices to which
We listen as we gather
Around the communal fire.

Peter Huggins is the author of four books of poems: Necessary Acts, Blue Angels, Hard Facts, and, most recently, South. His other books are Trosclair and the Alligator, a picture book, and In the Company of Owls, a middle grade novel. He teaches at Auburn University.