Poetry: Swear It

Swear It
–Marge Piercy
The Crooked Inher­i­tance

for Eva 

My moth­er swore ripely, inventively
a flash­ing storm of Amer­i­can and Yiddish
thun­der­ing onto my head and shoulders.
My father swore briefly, like an ax
descend­ing on the nape of a sinner.

But all the rel­a­tives on my father’s
side, gosh, they said, goldarnit.
What hap­pened to those purveyors
of soft put­ty cussing, go to heck,
they would mut­ter, you son of a gun.

They had limbs instead of legs.
Pri­vates encom­passed everything
from bow to stern. They did
num­ber one and num­ber two
and even­tu­al­ly, per­haps, it.

It has always amazed me there are
words too potent to say to those
whose ears are ten­der as baby
lettuces—often those who label
us into nar­row jars with salt and

vine­gar, say­ing, Peo­ple like them,
mean­ing me and mine. Nev­er say
the K or N word, just qui­et­ly shut
and bolt the door. Just politely
insert your foot in the Oth­er’s face.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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