sing a song of

Standard

I Knew I’d Sing
Heather McHugh
A few sashay, a few finagle.
Some make whoopee, some
make good. But most make
diddley-squat. I tell you this

is what I love about
America – The words it puts
in my mouth. The mouth where once
my mother rubbed

a word away with soap. The word
was cunt. She stuck that bar
of family-size in there
until there was no hole to speak of,

so she hoped. But still
I’m full of it – the cunt,
the prick, short u, short i
the words that stood

for her and him. I loved the thing
they must have done, the love they must
have made, to make
an example of me. After my lunch of Ivory I said

vagina for a day or two, but knew
from that day forth which word
struck home like sex itself. I knew
when I was big I’d sing

a song in praise of cunt – I’d want
to keep my word, the one with teeth in it.
Forevermore (and even after I was raised) I swore

Nothing – but nothing – would be beneath me.

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