I Learned to Swear by Pam Vap I learned

I Learned to Swear
by Pam Vap
I learned to swear
twenty minutes before my first child was born.
Since then, it’s been a handy habit
to have around, and I expect God
to turn his head. After all,
he owes me one. It’s a trick
to make babies look so good.

The truth is they leak.
And of all horrors, they grow.

They only speak whine;
they cry and complain and wipe snot
on their sleeves. They spill dinner.
They stir pasta into their milk cups
and squish spinach between their teeth.
They eat crayons and toothpaste.

They call constantly. They call
constantly. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mo-om.

They inhale money, bang down stairs,
and store dirty socks and sandwich crusts
like hidden treasures in their closets.
They lipstick walls; they swallow marbles.
They break things.

Yet, God (no doubt in his wisdom) has ordained
that these crude creatures
should sleep incognito:
gentle
quiet
warm.

I am fooled easily.

Each night as I tuck covers around them
and bend to kiss their sweet, sleepy faces,
I don’t care that they used
all the silverware in the garden.

Let’s fill the house with angels,
I whisper to my husband
as I slip between the sheets.

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