O what rash and bloody deed is this!
— Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV
You gave me birth, and all I did was cry.
You were my nurse, and I just sucked you dry.
I grew your girth, and all you did was sigh.
I was your worst, and you just smiled by.
Let’s give this another try…
Did I ever say thanks for all those toy tanks
or all the fads of crap that then and there shut my trap?
Each one broke the bank, the G.I. Joe, the Handy Hank…
who’d all end up in the trash, when off their limbs I snapped,
Til I saw your face, and fetched them out of the stank.
What looks of disgust you had to adjust
when stubborn comestibles were coaxed down my throat.
God knows with what fuss you put up –
vegetables never stood a chance, though you prodded and poked.
you had to cut corners – just like my sandwich crusts.
I skinned my knees, did as I please,
screamed and scratched, smashed the lock
when I lost my keys; seldom preened,
this little lapwing you hatched
and loved with ease.
Throughout it all you stood tall, prepossessed by some mysterious mirth,
tried and tested a thousand times til you outpatience’d the saints,
placed me on a pedestal and always put me first
when all I did was nettle and bedevil you without restraint
six ways to Sunday for all I was worth.
Brawnless I was born jaundice and without much of a choice.
Your weekend ruined, this Saturday child hardly works for a living.
Lazy in the bones, head in the clouds, not a whole lot to rejoice,
let’s face it. But with all the trimmings here’s my thanksgiving.
Though I’ll never be a doctor or run for president,
will win no medal of honor — I’m much too reckless and yet too hesitant —
all young hellions fall heavenward, even a bruised up bastard like me,
who knows this much is true: while a guy in drag may be my queen,
and the whole grandkids thing remains to be seen, still I a son
more prodigal than prodigy, a cuckoo’s nest I flew
all the while, despite the guile, you remained so poised.
Girls you could play dress with, but you’d never guess that boys
sometimes do the sweeter things, like lug you with hugs
when you remove a blister or bee sting, kiss a boo-boo
and make the owie go away (yet by some kind of voodoo
keep intact my tough little man act), for your labor of love’s
enough to begrudge that with or without the brunch I’ve gotta hunch, you’ll see,
that on my list to do is make something of this gift you gave and sing off-key like a psalm
Happy Mother’s Day, mom.