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Smart Cookie

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

by Richard Shiffman


after Wallace Stevens



The fortune that you seek is in another cookie,

was my fortune. So I'll be equally frank--the wisdom

that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire

is in a different universe. The cookie that you are craving

is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.


Don't even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,

everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around.


It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don't even

think of living that life. Don't even think of eating that cookie.


Be a smart cookie--eat what's on your plate, not in some jar

in Tennessee. That's my wisdom for today, though I know

it's not what you were looking for.



Richard Schiffman is a writer based in New York and a former journalist for National Public Radio. He is the author of two biographies. His poems have appeared in Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Rosebud, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and many other journals. His Spiritual Poetry Portal can be read on this website. He is also a writer for the Guardian.

Browse all poems and texts published on Richard Schiffman

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