Feng Shui
by Bob Bradshaw

You stir fry your bok choy,
your Chinese mushrooms
and noodles.  There
is no other pair of chopsticks
dipping into your pot.

Is the feng shui wrong?

Your mother advised you at 6
that if you get lost
don’t move.  
Someone will find you.
Where is the husband
your mother promised?

Your luck will surely
turn.  For the third time this month
you rearrange the furniture.
You hang wind chimes,
add plants.  Nothing
must impede the flow

of Chi.  You need harmony
in your life.  Then
an old class mate calls.

He asks you out to dinner
where casually he drops the news:
He’s divorced, a recovering alcoholic.  
Even bankrupt.  But he’s blessed

with four teenage girls

who need a mother.


Bob Bradshaw is a huge fan of the Rolling Stones.  He believes in
flinging tantrums and poems at the world.  Some of his recent work
can be found in
Blue Fifth Review, Eclectica, Triplopia, Not Just
, Orange Room Review, Flutter, and Juked.

On “Feng Shui”:
      I’ve always been intrigued by my many friends in the
Chinese American community.  Many are doctors and engineers,
and yet they often believe wholeheartedly in their culture’s
superstitions.  And they often believe in feng shui.  
      A friend, who was both a pharmacist and a computer
programmer, convinced a co-worker of mine that her cubicle
faced the wrong way, and was susceptible to evil spirits.  She
began to worry and her production plummeted.  What could she
do to correct the problem?  The company wouldn’t rearrange
her cubicle’s furniture.  In the end she stretched yellow tape
across her cubicle’s entrance.  
      I don’t know why evil spirits would be deterred by yellow
tape.  But she was reassured, and her productivity rose.  
      Partly out of watching friends’ confidence over the years
fall and rise on the placement of plants and furniture, and other
feng shui recommendations, I tried to write a poem around feng
shui.  A number of poems were discarded, because the focus was
on the feng shui.  Only when I focused on a character, and let
feng shui be part of her story, did a poem finally take shape.  Or
maybe my computer was facing the right direction.  

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 1
(Spring 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.