The Mad Farmerís Wife Throws a Cuss Fit
Rita Quillen

She wasn’t raised that way.
Occasionally her mom would let fly
When long days with four little heathens
Wore down the filter.
But ladies weren’t supposed to act like that.
Marriage brought her a man, however,
Who considered cussing an art
A masculine craft worthy of cultivation.
            He could cuss the bark off a hickory
            A calf through the fence
            A bent bolt back through a bracket
            A frozen lug wrench off a tractor tire rim.

Always a good student
She apprenticed for years
Before her skills matured.
It was a frozen water line
Exploding in the kitchen
Water ankle-deep on new linoleum
Him gone, her pregnant to bursting
Having to crawl under the house
In her nightgown in Arctic wind:
This was her moment.
She was speaking in tongues
But no glossolalia here:
Every word crisp, clear and precise
An epic conflagration of every verbal horror
She could muster
Every bite of that forbidden fruit
Spit back at the world.
            But he still had to use a blowtorch
            To finally thaw the line when he got home.
            One can’t really expect transfiguration
            Right out of the gate.


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