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Thursday, May 04, 2023


by Mary Hills Kuck

To Governor Kristi Noem

My grandmother gave me one sterling spoon
for each of my first twelve years. A wandering
rose fills the neck of the spoon, sends vines
down the stem, with roses here and tiny
leaves there, then finally a clustered bouquet
next to M marked for Mary, the name we happily shared.
Did she imagine I’d take out these spoons,
tied year by year in a soft flannel roll,
and set them on linen with vases of roses,
my friends gathered there to talk about art,
song, and church over tea, petit fours?
I’m sorry to say I use one at a time
in my mug of strong tea before eight.
Then I race off to teach, attend meetings or shop.
Yet the spoon stirs my thoughts of her love  
for her namesake, her hope for my future, my home.
Your granddaughter, Governor, as you have said,
gets a gift every year of your love.
She already owns a gun for each year
of her innocent two-year-old life.
Did you engrave on the barrel of each new piece
your name and the year of the gift?
Did you ask the seller to add little blooms,
tiny vines, or sweet pinky hearts?
How do you think she’ll make use of these gifts
when she’s reached the allowable age to aim,
indeed, fire; what prey will your granddaughter shoot?
Will she start with the birds, then on to the cats,
and finally seek out the big game?

Mary Hills Kuck has has published poems in print journals, including the Connecticut River Review, SLANT, Tipton Poetry Journal, Burningword Literary Journal, From the Depths, Poetry Quarterly, Main St. Rag, and others online. Intermittent Sacraments, her chapbook, was published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press. She has received a Pushcart Prize nomination.