A Mother's Day poem by K.A. Nuzum
On Mother’s Day, a Thank You, Mater
Oh, Mater, thank you!
Thank you for being ever
a gently rocking cradle for my creativity
and never a slamming door.
for typing all my manuscripts when I first began to write books in third grade,
transforming my slanting-cross-the-paper,
nothing said or done could tell me more clearly that
my stories were important.
for introducing me early on to authors like A.A. Milne,
whose opuses helped teach me
the storyteller’s voice.
for not pointing out to me how heavily
I borrowed from that literary giant
in my seven-page book, Norman’s Escapades --
the story of a clinically depressed donkey.
how effective a teacher
imitation can sometimes be.
Thank you, Mater,
for reading me a bedtime story each and every night
and always letting me choose the book.
Thank you especially for letting me so often select
the Disney picture book of Sleeping Beauty
thereby ensuring that my writing would expand and evolve
to draw not just from the garden of childish dreams,
bright with innocence and roses,
but from Grim(m) Disney’s dark and fearsome well of
Myriad nightmares that woke me in the wee hours (ages 5-8),
that left my
my stomach churning
from futile efforts to escape Maleficent,
flourish still in the fertile,
shadowed corners of my unconscious mind.
Thank you, Mater,
for showing me how to make a happy ending
I plotted and executed high crime.
You always kept a can of tuna on hand to feed
the occasional kitty I kidnapped on my way home from school.
or black-with-white-socks feline,
that I lugged home in my arms,
always dined like a king, not a kidnap victim, in our home.
And thank you,
for driving the cat,
at the end of the day and the bottom of the tuna can,
the cat, round-bellied and reeking of fish
back to the scene of my crime,
where I would carry him from the car,
set him gently on his own front stoop
and bid him farewell.
The kitties’ families never the wiser were, but I was.
for forcing me to go to church and Sunday school
week of my life
for my first sixteen years,
thus providing me not only
a spiritual path,
but broad knowledge
of Western culture’s base,
bedrock for my stories.
And, Mater, thank you
for indulging my attraction for
by allowing me
(and my equally diminutive chums)
to ride to school
in the trunk of our hulk of a Pontiac.
It took only the first time of our popping out of its rear end instead of the back seat,
for whispers to start and
rumors to spread,
and from that day forward,
there was always a waiting,
cheering crowd curbside
when you pulled up before the front doors of Martin Park Elementary.
On Mother’s Day,
for these and a thousand other acts
of love and recognition, Mater,
for opportunities deep and wide
in which to learn and grow my craft,
many thanks and much love.