Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood


The little boy who sang
off key in the church choir,
caught house spiders in jars
and released them into the grass,

planted her a rose bush
for Mother’s Day
and mowed grandma’s lawn
when she broke her hip.

She can’t find him
in the mugshot
on the front page
of the newspaper,

in the defendant
in the orange jumpsuit
who hobbles in shackles
across the courtroom,

or the stranger
who stares at her
through the glass
with dead eyes.

He is gone,
but not the love for him
she wears like a coat
when she steps into the night.

Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in Arizona where she writes poetry, hikes, and takes photographs of wildlife out of her picture window in her earth home, built by her musician husband. She has four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Her chapbook, Dancing with a Scorpion, was published by Moon Journal Press in 2006. Her poems have also appeared in Orange Room Review.

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That is a bitter sweet poem. We're working with someone now, who reminds me of this saddness...yet we still love him.
A powerful poem that illustrates succinctly, and without sentimentality, how a mother’s love endures, even when a good boy goes bad.
Sad, beautiful ... touches all the senses, dispelling the myth that all criminals had bad mothers. A true work of art.
Heartbreaking. Brave to tackle a taboo subject. Paints a strong picture that criminals were once innocent little boys with mothers who love them unconditionally.
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