CIDER DONUTS by John Jay Speredakos

How were the cider donuts, Sal?
Can you taste the autumn in your mouth,
the old Octobers gone away?
Cinnamon tickles your tongue,
lodging in the corner of a smile.
Brown sugar sprinkles the chin
you no longer shave without assistance.
Like pixie dust from a half-remembered
harvest, fallen leaves scatter back
to the Bronx, Arthur Avenue, the USMC.
To Diana, when she was still
Goddess of the Hunt. To your father,
the once and future chef.

How were the cider donuts, Sal?
Did Fordham prepare you for the flavor,
for the doughy smell of success,
the chewy bite of opportunity?
Las Vegas gleamed like Liberace’s
keyboard, Dino’s shot glass, Frankie’s tux.
Your Rob Roy as perfect as your manners,
impeccable as a just-clipped nail.
Slip on the pinstripes
and greet the conventioneers with
Italian, the Bible, and Be My Guest.
The right man at the right time,
working for working’s sake.

How were the cider donuts, Sal?
The ones you ate just minutes ago,
but can’t recall the warmth,
the melting crystals smearing
your fingertips with caramel.
Are you on the back nine,
recalling when a handicap
was nothing but a number?
Or cruising to the Statler
to toss away the keys,
the Jag still humming like a dream?
Frankie did it his way; you, yours-
a kid in the alley, singing for pennies.

Photo by Erica, used and adapted under CC.