Fall/Winter 2016



Nathan Brown

MATRIARCH

What hurts her the most
is the way the others
look at her.

Or maybe more,
the way they don’t,
as if she’s not aware
of her fat husband’s
annual shenanigans.

Truth be known…
she runs this place.

She feeds the reindeer.
Brushes them after rides.
They would starve, or die
of the mange, if left to him.

She cooks for all the elves,
comforts and counsels them
when Santa’s being an asshole,
fights the insurance companies
to maintain their health benefits.
No easy thing when you consider
the overall conditions and stress
of their work environment.

And who do you think
took dear ol’ Donner aside,
grabbed him by his big rack,
and gave him an old-fashioned
dressing down for the deplorable
way he’d treated poor Rudolf
for his shiny nose. Something
Rudolf was born with. Not
some choice he had made.

                              Yeah…
don’t think she didn’t notice
how that part of the storyline
happened to escape mention
in NBC’s warm and fuzzy
little Christmas special.

Thing is…
                  she’s not bitter.

There’s a gorgeous isolation
to life here at the North Pole.
And besides a bad seed or two,
the elves are a lovely people
to live with and care for.

Reindeer are as magnificent
as they are magical, mythical.
And she considers their keep
a grave and cherished honor,
not only for herself, but for all
the children around the world.

And look…
                    she knows
               that he knows
          that she knows.

And as he nears now
his 2,000th birthday,
she’s beginning to sense
the depth of his remorse.

And though forgetting
is not likely…
forgiveness
may be.

 


Nathan Brown holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14 and mostly travels now, performing readings and concerts, as well as speaking and leading workshops in schools, libraries, and community organizations on creativity and creative writing. Nathan has published thirteen books. Most recent is Donít Try, a collection of co-written poems with Austin Music Hall of Fame songwriter, Jon Dee Graham. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book, Two Tables Over, won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.

 


 

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