I would sit on a wooden bar stool
in the doorway to the small office at
the back of the little donut shop
I worked at in high school

the doorjamb, perfect for leaning
in boredom, or sleepiness
as I awaited fresh customers
seeking coffee, crullers

passing time was easy
working nights, not many folks
out, up for fried, sticky, carbs
of twenty-five cent coffee

to my right, a notepad and pen,
cup of Coke, single raised-glazed
resting on stainless-steel;
shiny, sterile
boss’ donut roll-out, cutting
surface by morning,
my writing desk by night

stanzas and personal passages
punctuated by sporadic sales
fueled by Donut House regulars;
neighborhood cops, bus drivers
of the number seven route,
delaying departures for
a quick cup and a Bismarck;
paper-grading college professor,
fry cook from the
chicken place three doors down
a nurse who worked nights
a few locals, just hanging out

each had stories to tell
I always had ears to listen
pen, paper to retell, transform
what I heard, what I saw
that old, wooden barstool a
guru-rock from which I dispensed
conversation, teen wisdom
soaking in more than gave

every once in a while I can
sit on an old, wooden barstool
and be back behind that counter
where the jingling of the bell
signaled a fresh interaction,
potential for a new sale and a tale

and after all these years
notebooks filled, books published
there is no thrill quite like sitting
in an old donut shop, writing

or just puling up an old barstool,
someplace, because
I can still smell the grease

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2017

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