Betty Bleen

Rookie (Wheeling, WV)

Sunday Donuts - Poem by Betty Bleen

My grandmother made donuts every
Sunday morning, dumping memorized
ingredients into a crock mixing bowl,
punching down the malleable mass
until it surrendered, settling in the
bowl to do what it had been coerced
to do. I’d watch this process start to
finish, my grandmother silent, her
gray hair tweaked into a tight bun,
fingers fidgeting at wispy strands
of hair falling in her face.
These Sunday donuts were a favorite treat,
something we grandchildren grew to expect.
Years later I wonder if to her it was
just another ritual, like going to
Sunday Mass, like the pickled pigs
feet congealing in a jar in the fridge.
Could it be my grandmother was
merely a puppet, dangling by strings
manned by my grandfather? Had she
been a slave to his stringent demeanor,
moving at his every whim, obedient to
his beck and call?
Growing up I’d watched my own mother
be beaten down verbally by my father,
too meek to find the voice to stand up to him.
Did my father inherit this gene of
domination from his father?
Was he destined to become
a carbon copy of him?
Now, decades later, I can still recall
visions of my grandmother bent over
the kitchen table, fists mercilessly
pounding that dough; lips tight, eyes
wide. In her mind was she envisioning
it the face of my grandfather, each
punch a silent victory, the words
SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP,
screaming in her mind.


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, June 6, 2011


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