DONUT DIALOGUE WITH DAD
Once a month on an
afternoon when my
dad worked night shift,
he’d pull up to my school in
his white Ford Thunderbird
at one, to fly downtown.
so the orthodontist could poke,
prod, and adjust the cacophony of
wires and metal bands
promising to shape
my teeth into a better smile.
By 2:30 it was over.
Dad would check his watch.
“Time for a donut?”
We headed to the swirly counter stools
of the Mayflower Coffee Shop.
Dad ordered coffee, and I hot chocolate.
Sour cream cake donut—
always his choice.
I vacillated between Boston Cream
and vanilla cake with chocolate icing.
One afternoon, after our donuts came,
I poured out a litany of all the day’s
wrongs – friends, studies.
“Why do I need a better smile, if
I have nothing to smile about?”
Dad sipped his coffee quietly.
When I finished, he pointed to the
ceramic mosaic behind the counter
with its iconic poem and read,
“Keep your eye
upon the donut, Joanie,
not upon the hole.”
Words to live by,
not just when eating donuts.
Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in many journals including Hobocamp, Fourth River, The Ekphrastic Review, Silver Birch, and others. Her essays have been in Ovunque Siamo, The Italian-American, Eastern Iowa Review, Sasee, and others. Her articles and short stories are also widely published. On stage she performs personal and folk tales (often Italian tales) of food , family, and strong women.