Lounging on the Couch on My 39th Birthday in Pink Flannel Donut Pajamas

Julie Danho

Surely birds would love to peckat the dozens of donuts adorningmy arms and legs: the glazed, the jellied,the vanilla frosted scalloped at the edgeslike the worn lace tablecloth in Sito'stenement apartment where my motherfather sister aunts uncles cousinswould cram in Sundays, post church,and I'd eat the frosting off two, returnthe bottoms to the box while Sito frownedand Gido insisted I should disfigureas many donuts as made me happy. Afterhe died, she pulled the walls around herlike an afghan and didn't leave. Sundays,when I delivered the church bulletinto her recliner, she'd clasp my facein both hands, grateful. It's been decadessince I sat in a pew, but I brought my motherto the last church hafla, where she wonthese pajamas instead of what she wanted(the platter of walnut baklawa). And maybeI've lived too long to be lounging in pinkflannel donut pajamas, but I love how theyrub against my legs like a cat's head,love that someone spent time dreaming upimprobable donuts, like this one herefrosted blue-green, then crosshatchedwith piped white stripes, topped with pinkand red sprinkles, a sugared inner tubefloating the middle. How can't I be hungry?In the next room, my birthday cake sitson Sito's old table, mine since the daywe emptied her apartment and I openeddresser drawer after dresser drawer to findhundreds of crocheted dishcloths, stackedas neatly as cash for a ransom. We knewshe must have made them in her reclinerby the window on those days none of uswere there. It's almost noon and I'm stillin pajamas, waiting for my daughterand husband to march into the roomand play me the birthday song they wrote,her on toy guitar, him on mandolin. I hearthem practicing and it's so sweet my teethache. Sito, was it once like this for you?

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Julie Danho’s first full-length collection, Those Who Keep Arriving, won the 2018 Gerald Cable Book Award and is forthcoming from Silverfish Review Press. Her chapbook, Six Portraits, received the 2013 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Award, and her poems have appeared in PleiadesAlaska Quarterly ReviewBlackbird, and New Ohio Review, among others. She has been awarded fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the MacColl Johnson Fund. You can find her work at juliedanho.com.

Vol. 35, No. 3 & 4, Winter/Spring 2019

Anchorage, Alaska

University of Alaska Anchorage

Editor
Ronald Spatz

Alaska Quarterly Review is one of America's premier literary magazines and a source of powerful, new voices. Works originally from AQR have appeared in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards; The Pushcart Prize; The Beacon Best; The Best American Mystery Stories; The Best American Essays; The Best American Nonrequired Reading; and The Best American Poetry.

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