Sonnet – Zen and the Pizza Delivery Guy

I teach a poetry class for Berklee Online. The course culminates in the writing of a sonnet. I’ve always loved the sonnet form. That tight little couplet at the end is like a bow on a birthday present.

In the week before the end of the class, just as lockdown was easing in Sydney around June 2020, I went with my family to a local pizza restaurant. As we waited at the table for our pizza to arrive (well, to be honest, it was only me waiting. My kids had taken an interest in the bathroom…), a delivery guy came into the restaurant to collect an order. I wrote this for him.

As dough began to bubble on its pyre,

Fior di latte melted languidly.

The waiter pointed out the oven’s fire,

And my two delighted children begged to see

The bathroom one more time. There’s no accounting

For the tastes of youth. From the open doors,

With music pulsing through the restaurant, in

arrived a delivery man; a pause.

He then began to dance with shuffling feet,

hands and fingers that twirled, sparkled and skipped.

My kids returned: “What are you smiling about?”

I could have said, “Delight, my dears, is wrapped

Inside surprise”—so wise, so clear, and true!

Instead, I said, “Oh, nothing. How’s the loo?”

Me, June 2020, pizza restaurant in Newtown, Sydney.