Bob Sykora

Dunkin Donuts

I was drinking Dunkin’ Donuts at the airport—we were all drinking Dunkin’ Donuts because the century wasn’t new anymore and the future was real and as much as having tiny computers in your pocket is really cool, the future kind of sucked. We hadn’t figured it all out. We were scared. Actually more scared—or at least there was more to be scared of than there ever was before.

I was in love, or I was almost in love, falling in love, or still trying to convince myself not to fall in love—I don’t remember—the beginning is always fuzzy and I don’t have it in me to look back through my journals. I was drinking Dunkin’ Donuts and judging people who ate McDonald’s still. This is the future? Are you even in love? How could someone in love in the future ever eat at McDonald’s?

I never really did drugs so even the way coffee and sugar got my heart booming like “Solsbury Hill” felt pretty incredible, felt like the maybe-love feeling inside of me was actually bursting through my chest.

Peter Gabriel—that can’t be his real name.

I could look that up on the tiny computer in my pocket, but I won’t. I always journaled religiously, tried to write something about every single day, which seems nuts now, to do on paper, to scramble through my memory for dates, trying to find any specific event.

Anyone who writes is obsessed with permanence (I think), so maybe journaling wasn’t that crazy, but in the future, the present, it really does seem ridiculous. That never stopped me.

Drinking Dunkin’ Donuts, reading Eileen Myles and not rereading my journal and wondering about love. I didn’t have a religion except maybe Whitman, and I made that decision before ever reading him religiously so I was still a hypocrite, lapsed but still some sort of Cafeteria Catholic who never really finished the holy book. I was afraid to read Whitman, to really read Whitman, because I knew I couldn’t live up to his love.

I was drinking Dunkin’ Donuts at the airport, terrified of love and other people and actually living life. I would get old and lose all my memories, frantically dig through my old journals to find this moment, to read the way I described her then, now, remember the way I loved her before the rodents started pecking at the wires in my brain and all the memories went squalid.

I still don’t know about that love, and maybe never will, but I remember the airport, even when I can’t find it, tearing through my notebooks. I’ll remember drinking Dunkin’ Donuts at the airport, wondering if I was in love as the sunrise or something consumed me.


Bob Sykora is an MFA candidate at UMass Boston and the poetry editor for Breakwater Review. His chapbook “I Was Talking About Love – You Are Talking About Geography” was a winner of the 2016 Nostrovia! Press chapbook contest and will be published in July. He can be found at

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