Friday, August 14, 2015


For about the last six months, my younger son has been working at a doughnut shop. He works the night shift, making doughnuts from ten until six. I am thrilled that he has a job and his own spending money, but I spend more time than I would like to admit worrying about him.  I wrote this one night when I couldn't sleep.


At dusk
my man child,
basketball player
and gamer by day,
doughnut maker by night,
dons white chef's coat
and flour-dusted boots
and strides out the door.

I am more than a little unsettled
by these forays
into the night.

For the first hour
I picture the driver
who has spent
her evening
before sliding
behind the wheel
only to meet my son
in a metal-bending
life-stealing collision
somewhere along
his fifteen mile trek.

From twelve 'til three
I imagine my big guy's
red blood seeping
across white tile
as gun waving thieves
rob the quiet shop
of donuts and dollars
and from three to six
I picture horribly
disfiguring accidents
with hot grease.

Sun rises,
and I envision
my sweet guy
falling asleep
on his way home
at the end of his eight hour shift.
Another metal-bending
life-stealing collision.

I want to grab his belt loops
and yank him backward
into childhood.
But each night
my donut making man child
strides into the night
and I pray
for one more day
of glazed sweetness.

-Carol Wilcox

Heidi Mordhorst, at MY JUICY LITTLE UNIVERSE, is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Head over there for a whole lot of sweetness.


Heidi Mordhorst said...

Oof. I like being older and wiser, generally. But one aspect of it that I don't enjoy is that I can't hold on to my previously blithe expectation that life is a harmless adventure. I imagine plane and car crashes too, slicings and burnings and freak swimming accidents--not, like, constantly, but way more often than I ever did. Your poem works the doughnut angle very nicely, Carol (and I'm primed to enjoy that because my son, nearly 13, is Duncan, called Donut while in utero!)

Tara said...

I love, love, LOVE that last sweet stanza, Carol. And how true - we raise them to worry about them for the rest of our lives, don't we?

Joy said...

Very moving poem. I love the last stanza--yank him back by his belt loops--great alliteration. Excellent music.

Mary Lee said...

This is one of your best, I think. I was prepared to go all "YUM! Donuts!!", but you caught me off guard with your imaginings. And that ending. Wow.

Ramona said...

The parenting path is fraught with worry and you captured it in this poem. Like Mary Lee, I was ready for a sweet donut poem when I saw that picture.

Carol Varsalona said...

Carol, your reflective night thoughts give rise to the image of the worrying parent. We all seem to be involved with this to different degrees. I am thrilled that your man child has a job as sweet as it is.

Tabatha said...

I like the little details (e.g. "flour-dusted boots") and that, although you are worried, he is striding out, making his way confidently. It's hard (impossible?) not to worry, but I hope that you can get a good night's sleep!

Bridget Magee said...

Oh my! I have goosebumps.
The line:
"I want to grab his belt loops
and yank him backward
into childhood." captures my summer with my 18 year old testing the waters of "being an adult". I think I slept less this summer with her than I did all through her infancy.
Thanks for sharing your gut wrenchingly brave and honest poem, Carol. =)

Unknown said...

Your brave words echo Mama's hearts so beautifully, so honestly, Carol. I love you and I adore your writing.