The Fortune is Let Go


by Tucker Lieberman


Friends retrieved our furniture and I swept out the debris. Nothing remained of him but a slip from a fortune cookie whose message I can’t recall. It was probably a musing on kindred spirits, a diamond-hard discernment, or congratulations on a job well done. We are all bound by the same messages. We repeat the same strayings.

I leaned over the bridge by the dam and watched the cookie fortune flutter down, a white pinwheel, an insect brought to life by its own persistent signaling. That slip of truth hit the water, joining every bill that was ever printed and then revalued, every leaf of every book that eventually crumbled, every thing that ever briefly lived and then sank beneath the surface of a wet forgottenness, waiting to rise again.

Yes, just like a bill: Maybe it was about money. Friends stood by their truck with our furniture. The furniture had become mine, now.

“Here you both existed,” those vaporized letters still call in witness through frozen rock, somewhere at the bottom of the falls. The letters recombine in my imagination. “This river will remind you forever.”


Tucker Lieberman is the author of three nonfiction books: Ten Past Noon, Painting Dragons, and Bad Fire. His short fiction is in anthologies published by Owl Canyon, Mad Scientist, STORGY, and Microcosm. He has moved many times and now lives in Bogotá, Colombia. www.tuckerlieberman.com